A new study published in the journal Preventive Medicine suggests that men and seniors who have access to natural environments, such as parks, ocean landscapes, or beaches, have significantly better sleep quality.
Researchers analyzed self-reported sleep data on 255,171 adults who were recorded in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Study researchers connected this data with documentation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture about the natural conveniences/niceties in the environments of the participants.
The team discovered that poor quality of sleep was linked to having fewer natural environments nearby. Results indicated that BRFSS participants who reported having insufficient sleep—anywhere from 21 to 29 days in the previous month—consistently had less access to natural environments compared to those who had one to six days of insufficient sleep the previous month.
Researchers suggest that living near green spaces increases an individual’s chances of partaking in physical activity, which could lead to better sleep quality. They also suggest that men may possibly benefit more from these amenities because women venture less, perhaps due to safety concerns. Furthermore, the study indicates that seniors who have trouble falling asleep could benefit from access to green spaces.
The study concludes that preserving the natural environment could be an important factor in improving sleep quality.
According to the study’s senior author, Diana Grigsby-Toussaint, “…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.”
Sources for Today’s Article:
Grigsby-Toussaint, D.S., et al., “Sleep insufficiency and the natural environment: Results from the US Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey,” Preventive Medicine September 2015; 78: 78–84, doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.07.011.
Paddock, C., “Access to nature tied to better sleep quality in men and seniors,” Medical News Today web site, August 25, 2015; http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/298532.php.