Study: Access to nature makes men and seniors sleep better - Medical News

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Saturday, January 12, 2019

Study: Access to nature makes men and seniors sleep better


Home in nature

A new study led by the University of Illinois found that men and people over 65 sleep better when they have access to natural environments in the form of park, ocean vistas or sandy beaches.

The study team explains in the journal Preventative Medicine that while a positive link between sleep and exposure to natural amenities wasfound for all adults in their sample, it was much stronger for men, and for both men and women 65 and over. Also, males and females 65 and over found nature to be an effective sleep aid.

University of Illinois professor of kinesiology and community health DianaGrigsby-Toussaint who worked with both University of Illinois researchers and scientists from the New York University School of Medicine, said their findings suggest exposure to natural environments could help people get the sleep they need to maintain good health. [Read more Repeatingwords aloud to another boosts memory recall]

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

sleeping

The team analyzed data on 255,171 adults recorded in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). [Read more Art-making can reduce stress, even if you aren’t artistic]

When the participants were asked about the quality of their sleep in the past month, the team found that the most frequent answer was that their quality of sleep was poor in less than one week.
"Interestingly, though, across the entire sample, individuals reporting 21 to 29 days of insufficient sleep consistently had lower odds of access to green space and natural amenities compared to those reporting less than one week," said Prof. Grigsby-Toussaint. [Read more Yoga May Improve Arthritis Symptoms]

People who live near green landscapes tend to have greater amount of physical activity and that physical activity helps them achieve good quality sleep, explained Grigsby-Toussaint.
As to why men seemed to benefit more than women from their natural surroundings, the researchers speculated that it might be due to the fact that women take less advantages of their natural surroundings because they’re more concerned about their safety. But Grigsby-Toussaint said more research is needed to determine this. [Read more TheSurprising Mental Benefits of Common Self-Care Practices]

"And, specifically, 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," Prof. Grigsby-Toussaint concluded.

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