Improving sleep quality leads to dramatic mental and physical health benefits, new research finds.
The boost from better sleep is equivalent to winning $250,000 on the lottery or taking an 8-week course in meditation.
Quality of sleep is more important than quantity, the researchers also found.
The conclusions come from a survey of 30,500 people in the UK across 4 years.
The researchers also found that lack of sleep led to greater use of sleep medications and worse emotional and physical states.
Dr Nicole Tang, the study’s first author, said:
“We are far from demonstrating a causal relationship, but the current findings suggest that a positive change in sleep is linked to better physical and mental wellbeing further down the line.
It is refreshing to see the healing potential of sleep outside of clinical trial settings, as this goes to show that the benefits of better sleep are accessible to everyone and not reserved for those with extremely bad sleep requiring intensive treatments.
An important next step is to look at the differences between those who demonstrate a positive and negative change in sleep over time, and identify what lifestyle factors and day-to-day activities are conducive to promoting sleep. Further research in this area can inform the design of public health initiatives.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal SLEEP (Tang et al., 2017).