Survey shows New Zealanders want lots of shut-eye but bad habits get in the way.

When the clock springs forward this Sunday many will lose an hour of sleep.

This could prove to be a struggle for the 24 per cent of New Zealanders who reported feeling tired on a daily basis in a Southern Cross Healthcare Group survey.

Eighty per cent of those in the survey of 1650 people, aged over 18 in June, also reported they would rather have a full night's sleep than a great night out.

Eleven per cent in the survey, titled New Zealanders' Approach to Kiwi Living, had fallen asleep at the wheel before.

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Southern Cross Health Society chief executive Peter Tynan said that showed New Zealanders were desperate for sleep and that could lead to health problems.

"A US National Health Interview Survey linked sleep problems to obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, the risk of stroke, diabetes and depression."

He said bad pre-sleep habits were contributing to New Zealanders' lack of quality sleep.

"Interestingly our research also showed that over half of us are using an electronic device an hour before bed."

The survey found that 57 per cent of New Zealanders would watch TV or a DVD before going to bed, 52 per cent would use a laptop, smartphone, tablet or iPad, 32 per cent would read a book or a magazine and 10 per cent would listen to the radio.

Mr Tynan said following good bedtime habits could help people get a good night's sleep.

"Not drinking caffeine or exercising too close to bedtime, going to bed and getting up at the same time and not having any loud external stimuli can help the brain relax," he said.

The average person spends 26 years of their life sleeping.

Tips for better sleep

1.

Have a regular sleep schedule and routine.

2. Avoid bright lights.

3. Keep your room cool.

4. Cut down on caffeine.

5. Avoid alcohol before bed.

6. Try not to worry or think too much before sleeping.