“Our results suggest that summertime is associated with better diet quality, higher exercise frequency and improved mood,” reports Lina Begdache, Ph.D., assistant professor of health and wellness studies at New York’s Binghamton University.
Dr. Begdache’s previously published research suggests that mental distress and exercise frequency are associated with different dietary and lifestyle patterns. In their latest study, she and her colleagues looked at the nature of these associations.
“Taken all together, our results confirmed the hypothesis that risk factors for mental distress are dynamic,” Dr. Begdache said, adding that “improving one factor may positively impact all others. For instance, if it is hard to improve your diet or up exercise frequency…adjusting your sleep cycle may (help). Likewise, upping exercise frequency may improve diet and sleep quality.”
The researchers collected daily data on diet, sleep, overall well-being, exercise, and mental distress from individuals of various ages and followed them for four weeks in both the summer and fall for two years.
The team found that a good quality diet was associated with better mental well-being and that good sleep quality was linked to mental and overall well-being.
Dr. Begdache added that “the association between diet, sleep, exercise, and seasonal changes in relation to mental distress is complex and multidimensional. These variables are intertwined in a way that a shift in one factor may alter directionality of others and, consequently, impact mood. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize the dynamic relationships between these lifestyle factors and mental distress to provide the groundwork necessary for nutritionists and healthcare professionals to improve prophylactic and therapeutic approaches.”
Lina Begdache et al, “Dynamic associations between daily alternate healthy eating index, exercise, sleep, seasonal change and mental distress among young and mature men and women,” Journal of Affective Disorders Reports, July 2021.
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