Access to Neighborhood Green Space Promotes Better and Longer Sleep

By Thomas Astell-Burt, Xiaoqi Feng, and Gregory S Kolt

New South Wales, Australia (August 13, 2013) – An Australian cross-sectional study found that exposure to parks and other “green spaces”  promote favorable psychological and physiological outcomes. As a result, people who reside in greener neighborhoods may also have a lower risk of short sleep duration.

The study investigated whether neighborhood green space was associated with a healthier duration of sleep (to the nearest hour) among 259 319 Australians who completed the 45 and Up Study baseline questionnaire between 2006 and 2009 inclusive.

The results show that people living in greener neighbourhoods reported a lower risk of short sleep. For example, compared with participants living in areas with 20% green space land-use, the relative risk ratios for participants with 80%+ green space was 0.86 (95% CI 0.81 to 0.92) for durations between 6 and 7 h, and 0.68 (95% CI 0.57 to 0.80) for less than 6 h sleep. Unexpectedly, the benefit of more green space for achieving 8 hours of sleep was not explained by controls for psychological distress, physical activity or other socioeconomic factors.

Researchers concluded that green space planning policies may have wider public health benefits than previously recognized. Further research in the role of green spaces in promoting healthier sleep durations and patterns is warranted.

Multinomial logit regression was used to investigate the influence of an objective measure of green space on categories of sleep duration: 8 h (normal); between 9 and 10 h (mid-long sleep); over 10 h (long sleep); between 6 and 7 h (mid-short sleep); and less than 6 h (short sleep). Models were adjusted for psychological distress, physical activity and a range of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.

Source: Does access to neighbourhood green space promote a healthy duration of sleep? Novel findings from a cross-sectional study of 259 319 Australians

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