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Improve your Sleep by Connecting with Nature

June 19, 2017

Step into nature and improve your sleeping patterns

There is a very strong correlation between our exposure to nature and our health, both mental and physical, and our general sense of well-being. Studies have been done across a multitude of disciplines involving huge samples of people, young and old, male and female, that have all produced similar results: when we spend regular interludes in the natural world we are much better for it.

A little time spent outdoors, surrounded by the wonders of Mother Nature, the birds, the bees, the trees and flowers, tends to give us a sense of marvel and appreciation. It reminds us of what’s really important and puts a lot of our daily stresses and worries into perspective. Something as simple as a walk in a forest or along a beach can be the catalyst whereby we actually start to let go of what it is that keeps us awake at night, makes us agitated and uptight as we sit in the traffic and makes us too busy to stop and smell the roses.

Studies have shown that time spent outdoors in the natural world reduces stress, improves self confidence, encourages us to be more active and healthy, among many other things. Another huge benefit of spending time in nature is the effect it has on our sleep.

It makes perfect sense that time spent in natural environments could improve sleep.

  • Actively active: There is much higher chance of physical activity if you are outdoors: a walk on the beach; a hike in the mountains; a swim in the sea; fishing on a river bank; kicking a ball around a field; walking the dog through the forest. Nature induces movement, even gentle movement like a stroll. Given how many of us lead sedentary lives, whether because we are too busy or just not that inclined, a little outdoor exposure can get us moving and this in itself helps us sleep better.
  • Breathe in, breathe out: The fast-paced world we live in means we are in a constant state of stress just to survive the day to day grind. By stepping away from all of this and out into the great wide yonder we quickly forget the things that cause us anxiety and let go. Just by doing this we somehow make room to breathe more and breathe better. There’s that old adage that fresh country air or sea air makes you sleep better, well it does. And not just because is oxygen-filled as opposed to the usual car and industry fumes we breathe in daily, but also because the sheer nature of outdoor exposure reminds us to let to and forget about what’s not important.
  • Reset the clocks: Living life in the fast lane, burning the candle at both ends wreaks havoc on our body clocks. We are supposed to wake when the sun rises and go to bed when the sun sets, but the reality is this is not how life works today. Instead, we are up early to get all the things done in a day that we need to, and then sit up late either watching TV or glued to the screens of our smartphones and tablets. By unplugging and spending some time where there are not bright lights or busy city bustle, but instead sleeping under the stars, we can reset our body clocks so that they go back to their natural circadian rhythm. Leaving phones, screens and tablets at home means we are only exposed to natural light so our bodies can produce the melatonin necessary for a good sound sleep.

Sleep is an essential part of good health. Without it, our bodies can’t repair themselves or rest, so our physical health is compromised. A lack of sleep can have huge impacts on our cognitive functioning and can make us go a bit crazy, after all, there is a reason that sleep deprivation is used as a form of torture. So, spend more time in nature, be more active, breathe and stop and smell the roses every now and again and you will notice a significant improvement in how you feel about life in general. Follow us on Facebook for more info, tips and advice on sleep.

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