“Eat your fruits and vegetables, exercise, and get a good night’s sleep” sounds like advice from your mother (or doctor), but recent research findings identify these three healthy behaviors as predictive of good mental health and well-being among young adults.

University of Otago researchers in New Zealand conducted the cross-sectional survey study among 1,111 male and female adults ages 18–25. Participants completed an online survey reporting diet, sleep, physical activity and other relevant information as well as depressive symptoms and feelings of well-being.

Data analysis showed that sleep quality was the strongest predictor of well-being, followed by sleep quantity and physical activity. Consumption of raw fruits and vegetables was the only dietary factor predictive of greater well-being.

The study is available in Frontiers in Psychology (2020; 11 [579205]).

See also: Can Exercise Improve Mental Health?