Plant Life Balance

Green space can be the answer to a better night’s sleep

We’ve all experienced the frustration of not getting a good night’s sleep – but in these challenging times, many of us are having a few more restless nights than usual. 

If you are experiencing mental distress and want to talk to someone, please reach out to Beyond Blue – they have a big national network of people ready to have a chat.

For the most up to date guidelines on being outside your home during the coronavirus crisis, please check with your relevant state authority.

Apart from the very tangible impacts that COVID-19 is having on Australians’ lifestyles and livelihoods, we know it is also causing significant mental and emotional angst for people – which can affect how much, and the quality of the shut-eye we’re all getting of a night.

Understanding sleep is a pretty complicated subject. Sleep patterns can be effected by a bunch of variables including age, education, income, and whether you have a job or not. There’s also research that suggests some aspects of modern city living – pollution, light and noise – also impact the amount and quality of our sleep. This all matters quite a lot, because insufficient sleep (classified as less than 6 hours) is more than being an occasional annoyance – when it’s ongoing issue it can have significant health impacts, such as higher risk of accidents, road or traffic incidents, weight gain and even early death.

So considering that there is a host of things that can impact on sleep plus the fact that many of us are experiencing heightened stress at the moment around COVID-19, are there any general solutions available that can help us sleep easier?

That’s what these researchers from the University of Wollongong and University of UNSW have been figuring out. Their question is simple:

Is there a connection between urban green space (parks, woodlands, grass, nature strips, street trees etc) and getting enough sleep?”

The short answer is yes – there is a clear association between the two, with those that live near green space having a lower prevalence of insufficient sleep.

There could be a couple of reasons that proximity to urban green space contributes to better sleep, including:

  • contact with nature improving mental health
  • improved air quality
  • reduced noise levels
  • public green space often also means more areas for recreation and socialising.

Interestingly, the results of the study didn’t find any correlation between types of urban green space and sleep outcomes – suggesting that it doesn’t matter what kind of green space you spend time in, just as long as you are close to it.

So, we know that spending time in nature can do our health and wellbeing a world of good. But what can we do when getting outdoors is a challenge, or when it’s permitted only for certain reasons, as is the case during this period of coronavirus?

Simple – bring all that green goodness into your actual home or garden, so you can be constantly surrounded by it. Taking advantage of the restorative benefits of plants and trees has never been so important as it is now during these uncertain times.

To figure out which plants would work best in your home or garden for that daily dose of green, get in touch with your local Plant Life Balance accredited nursery and chat with the experts (and while you’re at it, check what their remote shopping options are).

Add comment