Mental health is complex and can be linked to everything from sleep to diet to exercise. Among all these things, however, quality sleep may be the best way to improve it.
In a new study, researchers surveyed 1,100 people between the ages of 18 and 25 on their sleep, diet, and exercise habits, then did a follow-up survey that gauged mental health.
They found that sleep beat out exercise and diet as the leading predictor of good mental health, but this wasn’t the only interesting tidbit. You’ve likely already heard that you need a certain number of hours, but it’s the quality of your sleep that matters more when it comes to mental health.
In a statement in Today, Shay-Ruby Wickham, lead author of the study and a graduate student at Otago Medical School at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, explained, “While we did see that both too little sleep—less than eight hours—and too much sleep—more than 12 hours—were associated with higher depressive symptoms—sleep quality significantly outranked sleep quantity in predicting mental health and well-being.”
If you want to read the entire study for yourself, you can find it in Frontiers in Psychology.