People Sleep Better With Access To This Healing Resource

Lack of sleep linked to poor thinking skills, worse mental health and even obesity.

Lack of sleep linked to poor thinking skills, worse mental health and even obesity.

Many people sleep better when they have access to nature, a new study finds.

It could be an ocean view, a green space nearby or any natural surroundings.

People over-65 and men of all ages slept better when they had access to nature, the research found.

Professor Diana Grigsby-Toussaint, the study’s first author, said:

“It’s hard to overestimate the importance of high-quality sleep.

Studies show that inadequate sleep is associated with declines in mental and physical health, reduced cognitive function, and increased obesity.

This new study shows that exposure to a natural environment may help people get the sleep they need.”

Data from 255,171 people was included in the research.

It asked about the number of days of insufficient sleep and access to green space.

Across all the age-groups it was men that seemed to benefit more from natural spaces.

It may be that women use natural public spaces less because of safety concerns.

For over-65s, though, the sleep of both men and women benefited from access to nature.

Professor Grigsby-Toussaint said:

“If there is a way for persons over 65 to spend time in nature, it would improve the quality of their sleep–and their quality of life–if they did so.

…our results provide an incentive for nursing homes and communities with many retired residents to design buildings with more lighting, create nature trails and dedicated garden spaces, and provide safe outdoor areas that encourage outdoor activity for men and women.”

The research was published in the journalĀ Preventive MedicineĀ (Grigsby-Toussaint et al., 2015).

No sleep image from Shutterstock

Author: Jeremy Dean

Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology. He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book "Making Habits, Breaking Habits" (Da Capo, 2013) and several ebooks.

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