General Article Just how much do sleep and exercise matter?

Topic Selected: Fitness Book Volume: 384

Could sleep and exercise be key to easing the global burden of mental health?

By Jennifer Newson Ph.D.

When it comes to our mental wellbeing, we are not an island. What’s going on inside our heads is a direct reflection of what’s going on around us. We see this clearly in the mental and emotional strain caused by global events such as the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are many other ways that life’s adversities can chip away at our mental wellbeing or trigger serious mental illness. Within scientific circles, research has also regularly highlighted how life experience can influence both the onset and the trajectory of mental health disorders, emphasizing how important it is that clinicians consider a patient’s life situation when making a diagnosis or when choosing a therapeutic intervention. 

On the other side of the coin, the close connection between mental wellbeing and life experience provides a window for making changes that can directly or indirectly benefit our mental health a...

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