Alaska Sleep Education Center

Spend Time Outside to Improve Sleep

Posted by Beau Peters on Feb 25, 2021 2:19:00 AM

Time outside can improve your nightly sleep.

Spending time outside has countless benefits. Many studies have shown how being outdoors can do everything from lowering your blood pressure to improving your mood. While just being outside is beneficial, exercising outside can increase those benefits even more by clearing your lungs and your mind, all at once.

Another major benefit of spending time outside is that it can greatly improve your sleep. Some researchers believe that spending enough time outdoors helps to “reset” your body’s internal clock, which can improve your natural circadian rhythms and allow you to sleep more soundly at night. Being outside can also give your mind and body a break from artificial light, which can sometimes cause people to have difficulty sleeping.

It certainly wouldn’t be difficult to go on about the incredible benefits of spending time outside, especially if you’re trying to experience more restful sleep.

But, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, you might find yourself struggling to safely spend time outside. That can be especially true if you live in a big city or a place with a dense population since social distancing is still important.

So, what can you do to safely spend time outside for better sleep while protecting yourself and others?

Create a Private Outdoor Sanctuary

Living in a crowded area can be overwhelming during a pandemic. You might find yourself going a little stir-crazy just from being indoors and “isolated” most of the time. While it’s necessary to stay safe, it can also take a toll on your physical and mental health.

But, if you don’t want to go to a busy park, or even walk around the neighborhood with a crowd of other people, there are still ways to spend time outside safely.

One of the best ways to do so is by turning your yard into a personal outdoor getaway.

By turning your backyard into an outdoor escape you can use during the day, you’ll be able to stay safely away from others and enjoy the benefits of being outside. There are plenty of ways to enjoy spending time on your property, including:

  • Tending to a garden
  • Playing outdoor games with your family
  • Relaxing in a hammock
  • Playing with your pet

You can even spend more time outside by working on your landscaping to create the yard you really want. Create a plan for your landscaping, choose a focal point like a pergola, pool, statue, or tree, and use plants that you love to create a beautiful space you’ll want to spend more time in.

The more outside projects you’re able to think of, the more time you’ll spend breathing in the fresh air. Working on those things combined with spending several hours outside each day can be a perfect combination for a better night’s sleep. Start taking up garden design courses so you can create your own outdoor space with ease. It’s the perfect opportunity to create an outdoor space you can enjoy for years to come. Plus, it can provide you with some hope for the future – think of having friends and family over for an outdoor party when it’s safe!

Safely Socially Distance Yourself

If you live in a city or busy neighborhood, you might not have the opportunity to mold your backyard into a peaceful piece of property. If you live in an apartment or shared housing, finding other ways to safely spend time outside can take some creativity.

According to Johns Hopkins, many physical outdoor activities are considered safe during the pandemic, including:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Bike riding

You can do these things alone or with a friend, but be diligent about staying at least six feet apart from others. If you’re on a walking path, for example, let someone pass you by if they come too close.

Even things like outdoor picnics can be safe with members of your household. If you want to get outside with a friend or extended family members, get creative and have everyone bring their own picnic and blanket. It can allow you to see the people you love, spend time outdoors, and still remain safe.

Being outside and seeing other people, even from a distance, can provide a nice sense of normalcy. It’s another great way to reduce your stress levels and help you sleep better. But, even if you’re being safe and taking precautions against COVID-19, don’t forget to protect yourself in other ways outdoors. Make sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin and proper eyewear with sunglasses or UV-blocking contact lenses. Just because the pandemic has become a strong focus doesn’t mean that other risks don’t exist.

Keep Yourself and Others Safe – For Good

There finally seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to COVID-19. As of now, two vaccines have been approved for distribution, with at least one more expected to be released soon. Hopefully, others will be soon to follow.

Because of the severity of the pandemic, these vaccines were created somewhat quickly. Unfortunately, that has raised suspicions in some people who wonder if they’re truly safe or not.

People have been debating vaccines for years, so we certainly won’t get into that. But, when it comes to a vaccine for COVID-19, understanding its safety and potential side effects can help you decide if you’re ready to receive it. The goal of these vaccines is to keep people out of the hospitals – and, frankly, to keep people alive. Before the vaccines were ready for distribution, treatments such as remdesivir were the only options available. While these treatments are still showing promise for people who have contracted COVID, a lasting vaccine is a welcome ray of hope for those who have been struggling with this pandemic for a year.

If you’re worried about the safety of the vaccine itself, the most common side effects for those who have already received it include:

  • Pain at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Fever

Typically, these symptoms go away after a day or two, and not everyone experiences them. While some have tried to latch onto these side effects to say the vaccine isn’t safe, similar side effects can happen with almost any type of injection, including the flu vaccination, which nearly 50% of Americans receive each year.

While getting vaccinated against COVID-19 doesn’t mean the pandemic is over, if enough people receive it, we can start getting back to normal sooner. That means you’ll be able to spend more time outside, even with other people around. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy that time outdoors even more without having to worry about social distancing or staying away from others.

For now, however, do what you can to stay safe and spend as much time outside as possible. When you combine more time outdoors with healthy sleep habits like a nighttime routine, the more likely you are to get the rest your mind and body truly need.

For a comprehensive analysis of any sleep problems, you will need to schedule a sleep study with your local sleep clinic, such as Alaska Sleep Clinic. Our experts can provide a fully comprehensive evaluation of your sleep troubles and prescribe the best treatment for your dilemmas. If you live in the Alaska area, then be sure to give our experts a call for a free evaluation.

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Topics: sleep habits, getting beter sleep, sleeping outside

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