Sleep, Diet, or Exercise, What Can Predict Your Mental Health?

health pillars

Health is vital for a successful life, as it affects work efficiency, behavior, and personality. Sleep, diet, and exercise determine the well-being of individuals, and the role of each activity in determining health is different. 

You usually listen or read that sleeping for eight hours is vital for a healthy mind and body. However, just sleeping for eight hours is not enough. The quality of sleep is equally essential for mental and physical well-being. 

Sleep does wonders to your body, as while sleeping the body repairs itself completely from the damage that can and may occur during the stressful day. Research has been done on how sleep, diet, and exercise impact fitness to enable individuals to achieve overall fitness.

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What Happens To Your Body If You Get Poor Sleep?

Sleep quality enables predicting mental health. According to a study of young adults from researchers at the University of Otago in New Zealand, sleep quality determines mental condition more than diet and physical activity.

Bad sleep quality and disruption in sleep have an association with depression and other mood disorders. And it affects individuals’ relationships, whether it’s friendship, work-relationships or marital relationships, family relations. Furthermore, it can jeopardize the social life of individuals.

Some research studies indicate that eating a balanced healthy diet and exercising also enhances mental and physical health. The complex combination of sleep, diet, and exercise is inseparable in real life. Additionally, they are considered the three pillars of health. 

Shay-Ruby Wickham is the lead author of the study from Otago Medical School. According to Shay-Ruby, the three pillars of health encourage overall well-being among young adults. In their study, researchers determined the impact of each health-pillar on mental and physical health. 

What Does Your Health Say About You? 

If you have a positive approach to things and feel energetic to do various activities, that indicates you are physically and mentally healthy. Similarly, when you feel happy doing the right thing, that also symbolizes your overall better health condition. 

Feeling lazy, not wanting to talk, anti-social and non-energetic behavior towards everything indicates that you are either physically or mentally disturbed, and something is causing unfavorable changes. 

In this study, to determine the impact of sleep, diet, and exercise on health, more than 1100 individuals participated. These participants were between the ages of 18 and 25 years old. 

Being healthy is a wish of almost every individual but becoming fit is not easy, especially for the young ones as they experience stress due to studies, work, and living situation. Furthermore, many people cannot maintain good physical and mental fitness due to their daily routines, sleep patterns, office-stress, lifestyle, and financial condition.

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What Does The Study Reveal?

The study participants varied in gender, diet, and fitness conditions from one another. However, after making adjustments, the study results indicate that people with a sleep of eight hours without disturbance have fewer symptoms of depression. Moreover, people who sleep for less than 8 hours or more than 12 hours have more symptoms of depression and anxiety. 

Those who have better eating habits and eat more vegetables and fruits with 8 hours of sleep have better overall health. The impact of sleep was highest on mental health. Diet and exercise do affect mental health, but sleep has the highest impact. Thus, the sleep cycle or sleep quality can determine good mental health. 

The study suggests young individuals get a night of proper eight-hour sleep and do sufficient physical activity. Furthermore, individuals must eat nutritious food items daily to boost the immune system and enhance overall health. 

To get good quality sleep go to bed after dark. Also, dim the lights and put away screens one hour before going to bed. 


Adeena Tariq Lari
The author is a graduate of dental surgery from the Dow University Health Sciences, Karachi. She has an academic background in content writing as well as English literature, giving her an edge in the field. Adeena is always curious about physical and mental health. She is always passionate about research and delivering high-quality reliable content to users.