Market research company GfK asked consumers around the world what activities they regularly engage in to maintain their physical health—and getting enough sleep topped eating healthy food, exercising, or taking vitamins.

sleep for health

GfK’s survey of 23 countries found that two-thirds of global consumers (66%) say that they regularly get enough sleep in order to maintain physical health. This is more popular among global women (at 69%), compared to 63% of global men.

The next most popular activity is eating healthy, nutritious foods, with 59% of global consumers regularly doing this to maintain physical health. In this case, women are even more strongly in the lead at 63%, compared to 56% of men.

When it comes to exercise, 57% of global consumers work out regularly to maintain physical well-being—and more men tend to do this than women: 60% vs 54%.

Countries Where Top 3 Activities Are Most Popular

sleep globally

Looking at how prevalent these healthy behaviors are in individual countries, GfK’s survey indicates that Indonesia (85%), India (77%), and China (73%) are the top three countries where consumers say that they habitually get enough sleep in order to maintain physical health.

India and Indonesia are also the two top markets where consumers say they regularly eat healthily to maintain physical well-being, with 79% and 74%, respectively—and they are followed by Mexico with 69%.

For countries where people regularly exercise to maintain physical health, Mexico tops the list with 68% claiming to do this, followed closely by China at 67% and Canada and Australia coming third at 61% each.

Differences Between Parents, Nonparents

The survey also revealed that there are differences between parents and nonparents in the top three activities for maintaining physical health. There is a slight difference in getting enough sleep (where parents lead by 2%) and exercise (where nonparents lead by 3%). But we see a more significant difference when it comes to eating healthy, nutritious foods. Here, parents lead over nonparents by 8%, presumably since this healthy measure can benefit the child as well as the parent.

Ranking: Activities People Around the World Say They Do Regularly to Maintain Physical Health

  • Get enough sleep 66%
  • Eat healthy, nutritious foods 59%
  • Exercise 57%
  • Have a regular oral care routine 54%
  • Spend time with family, friends, or pets 53%
  • Use skin care or beauty/personal grooming products 38%
  • Take vitamins or other supplements 32%
  • Use sunscreen 30%
  • Take a break from technology or unplug/disconnect 22%
  • Follow a specific diet 18%
  • Meditate or use other relaxation techniques 17%
  • Get massages or other types of spa treatments 14%
  • Use herbal, holistic, or other alternative remedies/therapies 14%
  • Get cosmetic or elective surgery or nonsurgical procedures 6%

Source: GfK survey of more than 28,000 consumers aged 15 or older in 23 countries— averages across all countries, multiple selections possible, figures are rounded.

GfK interviewed more than 28,000 consumers aged 15 or older in 23 countries either online or face-to-face in summer 2014. The countries included are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK, Ukraine, and the United States.