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Sleep Quality Improved in Seniors With Access to Natural Spaces

Seniors, men reported better rest when they had access to beaches, parks

FRIDAY, Sept. 25, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Seniors and men sleep more soundly if they have access to natural surroundings, such as beaches or parks, according to a study published in the September issue of Preventive Medicine.

More than 255,000 adults from across the United States were surveyed about their quality of sleep in the previous month.

Most said they slept poorly fewer than seven nights during the month. But those who said they slept poorly on 21 to 29 nights were less likely to have access to green spaces or other natural areas than those who said they slept poorly on fewer than seven nights. The link between good sleep and exposure to natural areas was much stronger for men than for women, the researchers found. In addition, access to natural surroundings was also protective against insufficient sleep for individuals aged ≥65.

"If there is a way for persons over 65 to spend time in nature, it would improve the quality of their sleep -- and their quality of life -- if they did so," Diana Grigsby-Toussaint, Ph.D., of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in a university news release. The results provide an incentive for nursing homes and retirement communities to design buildings with nature trails and dedicated garden spaces, and to provide safe, inviting outdoor areas, she added.

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