While the notion may be quite hard to grasp at first, getting a good night's sleep could make you feel like winning the lottery, say British scientists. The study was conducted by Dr. Nicole Tang of the Department of Psychology from the University of Warwick and published in Oxford's SLEEP medical journal.
The main focus of the study was the importance of high-quality sleep and the tremendous benefits it can bring to patients. In fact, according to Dr. Tang's findings, improving sleep quality leads to a sizable improvement in both mental and physical health, which is comparable to winning a lottery jackpot of approximately £200.000.
For the study, Dr. Tang and her team have analyzed more than 30,500 Brits over a period of four years. The subjects were assessed according to the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ), the standard test used in the medical community to monitor patients' psychological wellbeing.
It seems that those patients who have successfully improved the quality of their sleeping patterns have had far better GHQ scores, as well as better results in the 12-Item Short Form Survey, which is aimed to test the patients' ability to perform daily activities, as well as their mental health.
On the other hand, subjects displaying worsened sleep patterns and lack of sleep have scored lower in the GHQ test, thus strengthening Dr. Tang's theory. These patients displayed not only a deteriorated state of health but also of their emotional states.
To relay the impact of improved sleep patterns, Dr. Tang has compared them to winning a sizable lottery jackpot, which is a wonderful stroke of luck by anyone's standards. Moreover, the study concluded that the quality of sleep is, in fact, more important than the quantity of sleep.
That said, it is essential that we get good sleep, rather than many hours of it. Sleep hygiene is crucial for maintaining good health because it plays a very important role in it. Furthermore, neglecting it could put us at risk for a wide range of health issues, including obesity, depression, type 2 diabetes, elevated blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
Dr. Tang concluded that a causal relationship between positive changes in sleep patterns and improved physical and mental wellbeing cannot be demonstrated at this point. However, there is a strong link between them that is extremely important.
The study assesses sleep outside clinical trial settings, which could make the effects of getting better sleep "accessible to everyone and not reserved for those with extremely bad sleep requiring intensive treatments", says Dr. Tang.
She believes that an important future objective is assessing the differences between subjects demonstrating positive and negative changes in sleep patterns, with the aim of identifying the factors and daily activities that are "conducive to promoting sleep".
It remains to be seen what Dr. Tang and her team at the University of Warwick will discover in their upcoming studies, but until then, the simple rules of sleep hygiene should be prioritized for staying in good physical and mental health.