How have daily habits changed around the world following the pandemic?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
March 01, 2022, 11:32 AM GMT+0

More people say they are eating healthier since the start of the pandemic, but others also say they have more money worries

The pandemic turned life on its head around the world. The 9 to 5 went out the window for many workers, and more time spent at home meant many had to find completely new routines. Now, as the world begins to emerge and get used to living with COVID-19, data from the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project last summer looks at how daily habits changed across the globe.

With no need to commute, or stay out late at the bar, have people used the pandemic to catch up on their sleep? While many say there hasn’t been a change to their sleep, a third of people in Saudi Arabia (37%) reported they were sleeping more now compared to before the pandemic, as did similar numbers of Brazilians (34%), Chinese (34%), and Turkish respondents (34%).

Elsewhere, people were more likely to say they are getting less sleep than more - including Spaniards (27% versus 19%) and Britons (21% versus 15%).

At 81%, the Danes were the most likely to say they haven’t changed the amount of sleep they get compared to before the pandemic.

Are people drinking more than before the pandemic?

With many pubs, bars, and clubs closed due to the pandemic, did people drink less? Across most nations surveyed, people tend to say their alcohol consumption hasn't changed.

However, at 22% and 19%, respectively, those in Australia and Great Britain were the most likely to say they were drinking more. They are closely followed by 18% of Canadians and 16% of Brazilians and Americans.

At the other end of the scale, 52% of those in Mexico said they were drinking less than before, as were 42% of Brazilians and 34% of Spaniards.

Are more people working out since the pandemic began?

People in the UK were restricted to just an hour of outdoor exercise a day at the height of the pandemic, but did they make use of it? Data from the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project shows a split among Britons – with 28% exercising more now than before the pandemic and 26% who exercise less. However, 43% haven't changed the amount they are exercising.

At the top end are the 44% of Chinese and Saudi Arabians who reported they were exercising more than before the pandemic. Followed by 37% of Mexicans and 31% of Americans.

Those in Brazil (40%), Turkey (33%), and Japan (32%) were the most likely to say they are exercising less following the beginning of the pandemic.

Have people improved their diets since the pandemic began?

At the height of the pandemic, many nations opted to lock down, meaning, cafes, fast food outlets, restaurants had to close their doors. So, with people cooking at home - did their diets improve?

Half of those in Mexico (52%) were eating healthier than when the pandemic began, as are 50% of Saudi Arabians and 48% of Egyptians.

The French are the Europeans most likely to say their diet had become healthier since March 2020 (32%), closely followed by Italians (31%) and Greeks (29%).

In Britain, a quarter of people said they were eating healthier than before COVID-19, while for 59% their diet had not changed. Some 15% say they were eating less healthy diets.

The Danes are the most likely to report their diet has not changed over the last two years (74%).