Get us in your inbox

© Gearold Hayes

A short commute makes Londoners happier than sex

Written by
Guy Parsons

Over 10,000 Londoners shared their story with us in our epic City Living Survey. And the results are fascinating.

We asked how happy and calm people were feeling, and a bunch of other questions about their life.
Then we looked at connections between the two: were people who worked from home happier than average? How about people who don't drink alcohol?
Here's what we found...

Average improvement in wellbeing by lifestyle factor

Having a short commute +8.3%
Exercising in past week +7.8%
Cycling instead of taking tube +6.9%
Having sex in past week +6.5%
Being in a relationship +5.0%
Not relying on coffee +4.7%
Calling family in past week +3.7%
Earning more than average +3.1%

That's right, a swift journey to work each day had a bigger impact on Londoners' happiness than sex, love, money, or even being free of the demon caffeine addiction.

Londoners who said they felt 'almost always' happy had an average commute of 36 minutes, while people who are 'almost never' happy have an average commute of 45 minutes. In fact, every additional ten minutes spent getting home from work knocks 1 percent off someone's overall wellbeing score. But does how we travel make a difference?

A cyclist in Oxford Circus, London.

© Anatoleya

Overall wellbeing by main mode of transport (out of a possible 20)

Cycle 11.29
Walk 10.74
Tube 10.60
Bus 10.31

In a victory for velocipedes everywhere, cyclists reported higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress than everyone else – not surprising when exercise also seems to make a big difference to people's wellbeing.

If travelling is so stressful, could working from home be the answer for Londoner's office drones? Funnily enough, no. People who work from home are more relaxed but less happy, so when you combine the two, it's a total wash. They're doing exactly as well as the average Londoner, in fact. 

The only lifestyle factor with a greater impact on overall wellbeing was 'not having problems sleeping', which improved people's happiness by a whopping 19.2 percent. So, if you're one of the 61 percent of Londoners who say they have trouble sleeping, get yourself some black-out curtains and a crateful of chamomile tea, and you could be experiencing the combined benefits of a pay rise, a chat with your mum, an energetic bout of lovemaking and a short cycle ride to work. Sweet dreams!

Pick up Time Out magazine on Tuesday August 14 for the full results of the Time Out City Living Survey.

Popular on Time Out

    You may also like
    You may also like