Spending time in nature has been shown to boost children’s cognitive development and improve mental health. One study even showed that just listening to nature is good for your health. Now, further research published in the Journal of Affective Disorders shows that one big aspect of time outdoors —sunshine —could help you get a better night’s sleep.
Using data from UK Biobank, the researchers analyzed genetic and health information for more than half a million people and found that for every hour spent outside each day, participants reported significantly better sleep quality, daytime alertness, and improved ease of waking.
The median time outdoors for all participants was 2.5 hours each day, and the researchers believe that time in natural light, even when it’s cloudy, helps keep our circadian clocks running smoothly, thus improving our sleep quality. The researchers write, “Humans evolved in an environment with a clear distinction between day and night, but our modern environments have blurred this distinction.”
This research indicates that if you’re having trouble sleeping, some extra time outdoors might do the trick. Plus, it will help you meet your daily vitamin D needs and even boost your brain health!
Source study: Journal of Affective Disorders —Time spent in outdoor light is associated with mood, sleep, and circadian rhythm-related outcomes