Many of your daily personal habits and behaviours affect the quality of your sleep. However, your home environment, both outside and in, can influence your ability to sleep as well. A bedroom that supports healthy sleep is vital to your ability to get the full seven to nine hours you need. More than the bedroom affects your mental health, including the design and condition of your landscaping. A nice way to make sure you get all the sleep you need is to bring natural elements into your home and space, since nature is incredibly important to getting enough sleep.
Nature’s Impact on Your State of Mind
Spending time in nature is far more important to your sleep than you may have realized. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explored the effect that nature had on rumination and symptoms of depression. Rumination, the act of thinking of oneself in a negative way, is often associated with mental illness and disorders.
In the study, brain scans and a survey were used to compare the effects of taking a 90-minute walk in an urban setting versus a natural one. Not only did spending time in nature cause participants to feel calmer but they also showed less activity in the part of the brain responsible for depressive thoughts.
Nature helps more than depression and anxiety. In 1984 Robert S. Ulrich conducted a groundbreaking study on the effects of nature on patient recovery times. He found that patients who stayed in a hospital room with a view of nature recovered faster than those with a view of a wall or parking lot.
Clean air, as well as cleanliness, has been known to be important for a long time. In fact, Florence Nightingale believed that cleanliness, along with clean air, were pivotal for a patient’s recovery. If you live somewhere urban, you might not have access to fresh country air. That’s why bringing nature into your house is so important.
After all, the use of natural design elements in and around your home can influence your mental and physical health in a similar way, which can help you sleep better.
Using Nature for Healthy Sleep
A well-designed yard that takes full advantage of the layout of your lot creates a welcoming space from the moment you get home. Native plants used to complement the slope and features of your yard and climate are easier to maintain. Landscaping that provides adequate shade, noise protection, and seating will make you want to spend time outside, rejuvenating your mental health before bed.
Bringing Nature Indoors
The effects and beauty of your landscaping don’t need to stop at the walls of your house. Some easy ways to use nature inside include:
- Houseplants: While houseplants aren’t traditionally kept in the bedroom, they can support healthy sleep in more than one way. First, what better way to bring nature indoors than with live plants? They already have the shape, scents, and colors of nature. Second, plants clean the air, freshening your bedroom, which has been shown to improve sleep quality. NASA conducted a study and put out a list of plants that remove toxins from indoor air. Their list includes English ivy, aloe vera, the spider plant, and mother-in-law’s tongue to name a few.
- Colors: In the bedroom, serene colors are likely to be your best bet. The most calming color might be muted blue. Other calming colors include mild yellow, soft green and even silver. Those colors not only help people get better sleep, but they generally wake up feeling happier. Avoid bright, social colors, like purple and red. These energetic colors can keep you up and even give you nightmares!
- Artwork: Live plants aren’t for everyone. Art featuring natural elements like trees, forests, lakes, and mountains can have a relaxing effect on the mind too.
- Textures: Nature extends beyond plants and trees. Brick and stone, especially those that are native to your area, with their visual and physical texture can put natural textures at your fingertips. They also make a great juxtaposition to the softness and textures of your bed and mattress.
The outdoors have a powerful impact on the mind and body. You can take advantage of the benefits with beautiful landscaping and a bedroom that uses all that nature has to offer.
Adam Kyle is a sleep expert at MattressReviews.net. A workaholic by nature, it wasn’t until his late twenties that he realized the importance of sleep for his health. At that point, he focused on learning everything he could about sleep. Now, Adam specializes in how his environment and his physical well-being affect his sleep. A San Francisco native, he finds the sounds of the city soothing and struggles to get to sleep in quieter environments.