Adequate sleep duration and less screen time associated with stronger mental health

An extensive analysis of data derived from the UK Biobank has led researchers to the conclusion that adequate sleep, less screen time, and dietary changes could improve mental health and reduce the risk of depression.

As published online in the journal BMC Medicine, the research team from Western Sydney University evaluated data of nearly 80,000 people, assessing a broad range of lifestyle factors and other variables linked to mood conditions, like depression.

In essence, the findings demonstrated a strong correlation between physical activity, healthy dietary habits, reduced screen time, and increased sleep duration with an improved mood. These lifestyle factors, researchers noted, are effective at curbing symptoms exhibited by patients with clinical depression.

“The research is the first assessment of such a broad range of lifestyle factors and its effect on depression symptoms using the large UK Biobank lifestyle and mood dataset,” according to Jerome Sarris, the study’s lead author.

In a news release, Sarris also states the following, “While people usually know that physical activity is important for mood, we now have additional data showing that adequate sleep and less screen time is also critical to reduce depression.”

“The results may inform public health policy by further highlighting the important relationship between people being encouraged and supported to engage in a range of health-promoting activities. In particular, maintaining optimal sleep and lessening screen time, while having adequate physical activity and good dietary quality, may reduce the symptoms of depression.”

The results of the study vindicate numerous prior peer-reviewed studies advocating for the implementation of those lifestyle factors in reducing depressive symptoms.

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