While in lockdown, many of us are finding new things to keep us occupied, such as baking.
And it seems there a is happy side effect – it may help you sleep. Scientists say the secret to a good night's rest is having a rewarding hobby.
They found those who enjoy relaxing pastimes including baking, gardening or dancing are more likely to experience better quality sleep and feel more rested in the day than those without leisure-time interests.
But hobbies only work if people have a passion for them and find them satisfying, researchers said.
Psychologists behind the latest study say their findings show pastimes and interests like baking and gardening are crucial for a proper night's rest
If they become an obsession, the opposite effect is seen and sleep starts to suffer.
Psychologists behind the latest study say their findings show pastimes and interests are crucial for a proper night's rest.
Previous studies have found certain leisure activities are good for both mental and physical health.
But this is believed to be the first major study highlighting the benefits for sleep.
Scientists from New York University Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, quizzed more than 1,500 adults on their sleeping habits and how they spent their spare time.
One in four said they enjoyed leisure activities such as baking, fishing and gardening.
Other popular pastimes ranged from creative writing and watching films to playing golf or tennis.
Participants were also asked about how much their interests dominated their lives.
Participants were also asked about how much their interests dominated their lives. An obsessive passion means worse sleep
Previous research has found so-called 'harmonious' passion for an activity has a healthy effect on wellbeing but 'obsessive' passion can be psychologically destructive.
But those who knew when to switch off from their hobby got much better rest.
In a report on the study, the researchers said: 'A 'harmonious' passion for an activity was linked to better sleep. But obsessive passion means worse sleep.
'We did not think different types of passion would lead to different sleep activity – these results were surprising.'
A 2016 study found regular baking and other creative activities can improve mood and reduce the risk of depression.