Study suggests a link between sleep and the natural environment. Suggests that exposure to the natural environment could help reduce sleep insufficiency.
A recent study published in the journal Preventive Medicine has investigated the association between sleep and the natural environment. Based on previous studies that have demonstrated health benefits of optimal sleep, the researchers suggest that improved sleep duration and quality could be affected by natural factors including access to greenspace and bodies of water. While previous research has found links between greenspace access and mental health benefits, the current study set out to determine whether access to the natural environment would affect sleep.
Researchers assessed data on insufficient sleep and exposure to the natural environment in US adults over a 30-day period. They found that participants who reported a greater number of days of insufficient sleep were less likely to have had exposure to the natural environment, compared to participants who reported a lower number of days of insufficient sleep. Conversely, the researchers reported that access to greenspace actually had a protective effect against insufficient sleep.
Overall the study reported that exposure to the natural environment reduced the amount of insufficient sleep reported by the participants; the results were particularly evident among the men in the group.
Grigsby-Toussaint, DS, Turi, KN, Krupa, M, Williams, NJ, Pandi-Perumal, SR, Jean-Louis, G. “Sleep insufficiency and the natural environment: Results from the US Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey” Preventive Medicine, Volume 78, Page, 78-84, September, 2015.
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Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD