The study conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic aimed to explore the relationship between coping mechanisms, sleep quality, and mental health outcomes. The researchers analyzed data from over 600 participants who self-reported their sleep quality and mental well-being during the pandemic.
The study found that better sleep quality was associated with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety during the initial months of the pandemic. This suggests that high-quality sleep may act as a protective factor against poor mental health when individuals are faced with chronic stressors.
Emma Sullivan, PhD student from the Department of Psychology at the University of York, stated: “As the COVID-19 pandemic has been a prolonged period of stress for people across the entire world, it offered us a unique context with which to address our research questions.”
“These findings highlight the importance of targeting both positive coping strategies and sleep quality when enduring periods of chronic stress.”
Additionally, the study investigated coping mechanisms and their impact on mental health outcomes. Specifically, the ability to reframe a situation in order to see the positive side was identified as a beneficial coping strategy. Those who were able to employ positive reframing had better mental health outcomes during the stressful period.
The researchers took into account various factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, alcohol consumption, quarantine status, and physical activity levels to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the participants’ circumstances.
Scott Cairney, PhD supervisor on the project from the Department of Psychology at the University of York, stated: “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.”
This study provides valuable insights into the importance of sleep quality and positive coping strategies in maintaining good mental health during challenging times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
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