We all know that a good night's sleep makes for a good day, but researchers in England actually found out over a four year study that people who consistently got a good night's rest showed the same positive increase in mood over time as those who won a medium sized lottery (somewhere around the $300,000 mark). Some of us tend to sacrifice a good night's sleep for other things which can either be out of necessity (like having a newborn baby) or out of inability to divert attention (you had to watch the rest of your tv show or sports event), either way you may want to rethink your priorities especially if you are finding yourself slacking throughout the day. Hopefully some of these findings will help you develop a better sleeping pattern for yourself! Who doesn't want to feel like they just won the lottery?!

What did they find during the study?

The study goes into some detail; "Overall, their mental health improvements over the four years were comparable to those seen in British lottery winners two years after hitting a medium-size jackpot worth about $250,000. So, to be clear, we're talking about a long-term mood boost—not the immediate euphoria of striking it rich.
Unsurprisingly, people whose sleep patterns got worse over the study period were more likely to see their physical and emotional health scores go down.Cathy Goldstein, MD, assistant professor of neurology in the University of Michigan Sleep Disorders Center, says that the study results confirm what’s long been understood in the medical community: that good-quality sleep can improve mood. 

“When we sleep well, we feel better—but there may also be more than that,” says Dr. Goldstein, who was not involved in the new study. “If you’re irritable and having difficulty with interpersonal relationships, that could affect your well being. We also see changes in inflammatory markers with poor sleep, so people might actually physically feel worse when they’re not sleeping well.”
Studies have also shown that poor sleep can slow metabolism and lead to weight gain, she adds, which can also affect both physical and emotional health.

The study, which was published in the journal 
Sleep, can’t prove a cause-and-effect relationship between sleep and better health outcomes, and Dr. Goldstein says that the two are quite intertwined. “If people were feeling better at the end of the study, that certainly could have been what resulted in them having better sleep up to that point,” she says. “It’s a bi-directional relationship, for sure.”The study also found that when people’s sleep duration improved, their mental health scores did too—but their physical health scores didn’t.

The benefits of longer sleep on physical health may take longer to emerge, the study authors speculate, or they may only be evident in people who are significantly sleep deprived.
Sleep quality, on the other hand, was linked to both physical and mental health. This finding “challenges the predominant focus on sleep quantity in some of the public health messages,” say the authors, who argue that how well you sleep is at least as important as how much you sleep.

How can you improve your sleep?

There’s no question that many of us could benefit from better sleep practices, says Dr. Goldstein. “Most people need seven to nine hours, and humans don’t sleep with 100% sleep efficiency,” she says. “So if you turn off the lights at 10 and wake up at 5, that’s probably not a full seven hours of sleep.”
She recommends spending at least seven and a half hours in bed, and paying close attention to how you feel during the day. “If you’re still feeling tired, it’s possible you could have a sleep disorder, like obstructive sleep apnea, that’s keeping you from getting good quality rest.The study authors say that an important next step in this research is finding out why some participants’ sleep improved over those four years and why other’s declined, and what lifestyle factors seemed to play a role, for better or worse.

For anyone looking to
 improve their sleep quality, Dr. Goldstein says a good place to start is keeping electronic devices out of the bedroom, and reducing exposure to screens and bright light between dusk and bedtime. “Our bodies were not equipped to get that bright light, and it’s going to suppress melatonin and make it harder to sleep,” she says.She also recommends talking to your doctor if you have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or if you regularly feel tired during the day—even if you’re technically logging the “right” number of hours in bed."

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We have included some of the actual findings above from the study article via Time.com shout out to them for posting the research, we hope you enjoyed the article and didn't fall asleep reading it!We want to write posts about your favorite topics, be sure to interact with us on social media and let us know what you would like to see! You can connect with us through the following channels… 

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