New study finds our ‘always-on’ lifestyles are leading to stress and illness

From commuting and checking emails to shopping online and socialising, many of us find ourselves multi-tasking throughout the day, and this constant state of “on” is leading us to experience stress, fatigue, illness and injury. 

The average person spends 16 hours awake and eight asleep, but research, from Bupa UK,* found we’re trying to cram 17 and a half hours of activity into every day. This includes 11 and a half hours working and commuting – twice as much as 20 years ago - 38 minutes on personal admin and shopping, 46 minutes exercising, and 46 minutes socialising. What’s more, only 5 per cent of Brits say they take time to relax during the day - compared to 60 per cent in 1997 – choosing to catch up on social media and emails in downtime instead.  

The result of all this is that we’re undermining our health, with our overactive approach to work, technology, socialising and even exercising leading to 90 per cent of Brits feeling burnt out, and more than half (54 per cent) experiencing stress, fatigue, illness and injury. 

Bradley Simmonds, personal trainer to the stars, says: “We’re great at work and play, but we’re missing one of the most important factors in that mix – rest. If we fail to look after ourselves we’ll end up missing out on the things we love.”

The effect of being “always-on” is that sooner or later our bodies (or minds) will let us know it’s just too much.

Why it's important to take time out

“As a nation, we’re pushing ourselves and our bodies further than ever before,” says Dr Luke James, Medical Director for Health Clinics at Bupa. “Every spare minute is now filled with making plans on messaging groups, fitting in a quick workout session, or checking emails on our phone. While there’s nothing wrong with leading a busy and fulfilled life, it’s also important to remember to take time out to rest after a busy day, recover after exercise, or repair after injury.”

So take a rest today, and make time for time out. Your body will thank you for it.

Discover Bupa pay as you go healthcare
Don’t want to add to the statistics? Make sure you take a break from your hectic schedule and get on top of your health and lifestyle concerns. With Bupa this can be quick and easy. From physiotherapy and GP appointments, to health assessments and consultations, Bupa has a range of everyday services available on a pay as you go basis – so you don’t need health insurance or a contract and only pay for what you use.

For more information on Bupa pay as you go, visit

*Research conducted by Bupa from a sample size of 1,500 UK working residents in April 2017.