Quality sleep has been shown to play a crucial role in bolstering resilience against depression and anxiety, according to research conducted by the University of York. The study focused on the impact of chronic stress, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, on mental health disorders like depression and pathological anxiety. The researchers found that effective coping strategies, including the ability to reframe situations positively, coupled with high-quality sleep, helped in preventing poor mental health outcomes in the face of negative or stressful experiences.

The investigation analyzed data from over 600 participants during the pandemic, aiming to understand how coping strategies and sleep quality influenced mental health outcomes. The study revealed that better sleep quality correlated with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety during the initial months of the COVID-19 crisis.

Emma Sullivan, a PhD student from the Department of Psychology at the University of York, explained, “This is the first study to investigate the ways in which positive coping strategies and sleep quality influence depression and anxiety when experiencing a real-world chronic stressor. We found that better sleep quality was associated with fewer symptoms of both depression and anxiety during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic. These findings highlight the importance of targeting both positive coping strategies and sleep quality when enduring periods of chronic stress.”

The researchers used data from the Boston College Daily Sleep and Well-being Survey, where participants regularly reported on their sleep quality and mental well-being during the pandemic. The survey also collected additional information on participants’ alcohol consumption, quarantine status, physical activity levels, as well as demographic information such as age, gender, and ethnicity.

Dr. Scott Cairney, a PhD supervisor on the project from the Department of Psychology at the University of York, commented on the significance of the findings: “We have known for a long time that high-quality sleep is associated with better health and wellbeing outcomes, but we wanted to know whether this would change if sleep and coping strategies were put under intense and prolonged periods of stress, as it was for so many during the pandemic. We found that sleep plays a hugely important role in the management of chronic stress and can sustain well-being over a long period of time, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.”

This research underscores the critical role of quality sleep and effective coping strategies in promoting positive mental health outcomes, particularly during times of chronic stress and adversity like the COVID-19 pandemic.


Source: Science Daily