Getting a good night’s sleep is as simple as a walk in the park

After working in a concrete jungle all week, I’m always happy to get to my house in the Hamptons. This time of year — with sunny days and cool nights — it’s especially rejuvenating to be there. And I’ve noticed that when I’m there, I sleep really well — no matter what the time of year. But according to a new study published in the journal Preventive Medicine, there’s a logical reason for this…

Researchers found that people who have access to any kind of natural surrounding — whether it’s the beach, a park, a nature trail, or a garden — slept better at night.

This study was a collaborative effort from the University of Illinois and the New York University School of Medicine. Researchers accessed data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, and the USDA’s index of US geographical areas that had high levels of sunlight, natural surroundings, and pleasant temperatures.

Over 250,000 people were surveyed to see if there was an association between insufficient sleep and green space.

And the researchers found participants who had access to some sort of natural setting reported sleeping significantly better than those who didn’t spend time outdoors in a green space.

The researchers aren’t sure why this connection exists. But one theory is that spending time outdoors often leads to increased physical activity — gardening, hiking in the woods, even just taking a stroll in the park. And of course, exercise helps you sleep better.

But whatever the reason, there’s no doubt that getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health. If you can find a way to spend some time outside, not only will it improve your sleep, but your entire quality of life.