Spending time in nature can work wonders for human health, from lowering blood pressure and stress hormones to sparking feelings of awe. Growing research suggests it may also improve sleep by resetting our internal clocks to a natural sleep cycle — I mean, that could explain my dream nap scenario: a freshly mowed lawn + pillow — half nature, half princess. But the evidence is pretty clear. Nature helps us sleep better.
It’s a known fact that exposing your child to more fresh air during the day lends itself to better sleep. Yet, like most things, we forget to apply them to ourselves as adults. A study even suggests that a weekend of camping could be enough to help reset the circadian rhythms that are keeping us awake.
Researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder monitored the sleep patterns of people living their regular lives at home, and those who spent a weekend camping without artificial light, and not only saw that they went to bed earlier, but follow-up results also showed that their melatonin expression had shifted.
Beyond that, sound machines with whale sounds and birds chirping aren’t as hokey as you might think. They have been proven to bring our anxiety levels down and generally help us to feel better in ourselves, all of which helps us to sleep better at the end of the day.
Physical activity outdoors is another way to improve your sleep. We’re so conditioned to working out indoors, we’ve forgotten that outdoor activities are largely beneficial. That could be walking, biking or yoga. Outdoor tasks such as gardening, hanging out the washing and even outdoor chores totally count as well.
So, grab those metaphorical hiking boots and join us on a natural path to a better night’s sleep.