Most Kiwis want more kip

By Martin Johnston

Survey shows many also worried about spending too much time on electronic devices

On average Kiwis are almost achieving the regulation half-hour of exercise a day, the survey shows. Photo / Natalie Slade
On average Kiwis are almost achieving the regulation half-hour of exercise a day, the survey shows. Photo / Natalie Slade

We are getting less sleep than we want and more than half of us have got a nagging feeling about the addictiveness of our TV and computer habits.

But many of us are trying to do something about our health: on average we're nearly doing the regulation half-hour of exercise a day and quite a few of us (56 per cent) are trying to eat more fruit and vegetables.

Our actions, intentions and beliefs about our health and nutrition have ranked New Zealand sixth-equal among 15 Asia-Pacific countries or markets on a healthy living index, based on a survey by research firm TNS for insurer AIA.

The survey of more than 10,000 adults, including 300 in New Zealand, found that having cancer was the main health concern of nearly half of New Zealanders, with heart disease second at 35 per cent.

Kiwis reported sleeping for 6.7 hours a night on average, although they wanted to get 8.3 hours.

Screen time showed up as a significant concern in New Zealand, with 57 per cent agreeing it was hard to break the habit of spending too much time using a computer, television or mobile phone. Forty per cent agreed that "social networking/spending time online is becoming addictive for me".

Half of NZ respondents said they should spend less time online as it prevented their getting enough exercise; 52 per cent because it affected their posture; and 45 per cent as it stopped them getting enough sleep.

Auckland psychiatrist and sleep expert Dr Tony Fernando said the sleep duration findings were lower than in the research he was familiar with. This had found New Zealand and Australian adults slept on average for more than eight hours a night, "which is supposed to be one of the best in all the developed countries".

He said the ideal amount of sleep varied greatly between people and he warned against leaving a mobile phone to beep and flash near your bed if you had trouble sleeping.

"If you are predisposed to insomnia, my suggestion is you put the device at a distance where you can't reach it and turn the notifications off."

But phones could also help with sleeping: smartphone apps were available to help people meditate and he had prescribed these to some patients.


Kiwis reported sleeping for 6.7 hours a night on average, although they wanted to get 8.3 hours. Photo / Thinkstock
Kiwis reported sleeping for 6.7 hours a night on average, although they wanted to get 8.3 hours. Photo / Thinkstock

Healthy living

1st - Vietnam
2nd - China
5th - Australia
6th equal - New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia

- NZ Herald

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