Sleep, Diet, Exercise: Quality Over Quantity?

Sleep, Diet and Exercise are the three main pillars of health. However a new study out of New Zealand challenges the notion of eight hours of sleep, instead postulating that sleep quality may be most important—particularly in the realm of mental health among young adults.  

“Sleep, physical activity, and a healthy diet can be thought of as three of the most important aspects of health, which could contribute to promoting optimal well-being among young adults,”said lead author Shay-Ruby Wickham, from Otago Medical School. 

“While extensive research has shown the mental health and wellbeing benefits of sleep, physical activity, and diet as individual predictors, research examining all three behaviours together…is limited,” wrote researchers in their article sear titled “The Big Three Health Behaviors and Mental Health and Well-Being Among Young Adults: A Cross-Sectional Investigation of Sleep, Exercise, and Diet

“Knowing the importance of each of these lifestyle behaviours, singularly or in combination with each other, and the hierarchical order of importance will inform mental health interventions at both the population and individual level.”

“In this study, the researchers surveyed more than 1,100 young adults aged between 18 and 25 years old to compare ‘the big three’ health factors impacting mental health side-by-side.”

“People completing the online survey between 2018 and 2019 were asked about their mood and wellbeing, diet, exercise and sleeping habits. They also reported how refreshed they typically felt after waking up each morning, which is an established indicator of good quality sleep.” 

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