Free U.S. Shipping For Orders $150+
We’ve talked before how different seasons affect your sleep. Spring is allergy season, summer means hot and sweaty nights, fall comes with ragweed allergies and winter has its chills and winter blues.
No matter the season, spending more time outdoors is great for sleep. It helps regulate your circadian rhythm (ensuring you have adequate melatonin at bedtime), lowers stress and anxiety, and helps you stay active.
Sleep Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors
1. It’s Good For Your Mental Health
There is tons of strong research showing that spending time outdoors is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. It improves your moods, lowers stress levels, makes you less anxious and can even help reduce symptoms of depression.
Less stress and anxiety, in turn, mean you get to fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. So many cases of insomnia happen because people are just too stressed. Better mental health also reduces the risk of certain sleep disorders like nightmares and night terrors.
2. It Maintains Good Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm controls your sleep-wake cycle. When it’s disrupted, like when you fly across time zones, it also messes up with your sleep.
The circadian rhythm itself responds mostly to different levels of light. During the day you will feel alert while lower night levels in the evening trigger melatonin and you get sleepy.
Spending time outdoors and exposing yourself to sunlight can help your circadian rhythm run more smoothly, which in turn improves your sleep quality.
You will feel more alert and energetic during the day, and you’ll find it a lot easier to fall asleep at night. Outdoor time is especially helpful when we experience the biggest interruptions to our circadian rhythm like during Daylight Savings Time, when days get longer in the summer and when days shorten in the winter.
Going outside helps your circadian rhythm adapt more quickly to these changes, which helps you sleep well no matter the season.
3. It Makes Your More Active
If you are spending time outdoors, you are likely to be more active as well. Even if you don't go outside specifically to workout, you’ll still find you are moving more.
Being more active is hugely beneficial for sleep. It increases your sleep drive (need for sleep), it improves your mental health and it also helps align the circadian rhythm.
For more benefits, consider spending active time outdoors; you get the combined benefits of exercise and being outdoors. You can go jogging, go for a hike, go cycling or whatever other activity you like.
Best Outdoor Activities for Different Seasons
There’s no shortage of outdoor activities you can enjoy in any season. Here are a few ideas to get you started whether you are looking for something active, or prefer more laid back outdoor time.
Sleeping on a cot or in a sleeping bag may not be as comfortable as your big bed at home, but camping improves your sleep quality when you go back home.
Being in nature, sleeping under the stars, and taking a break from your daily hassles will do wonders for your health and sleep.
Summer camping is the easiest option for most people, but you can go camping in any season. You just need to be prepared and have the right gear. This is especially important for winter camping. We recommend you start with fall camping before moving up to winter camping.
Hiking & Backpacking
Even if you are not a fan of camping, you can still enjoy nature by going day hiking. You get some exercise out of it while enjoying time outdoors.
Pick a place close to your home or near a hotel then set out early. Make sure you are aware of any dangers in your surroundings (like bears) and you are ready with everything you need.
If you want to turn it into a multi-day adventure, try backpacking where you hike and camp.
You can go hiking in any season, but we recommend spring, summer and fall for most people. During winter, snow and cold temperatures can make hiking more dangerous if you don't have adequate experience.
Spending time outdoors doesn't have to be strenuous or tiresome. A relaxing picnic can still help you sleep better. It’s a great way to reduce stress and it boosts melatonin production at night, helping you sleep faster and deeper.
- Outdoor exercise like jogging, swimming or kayaking. Do it alone or join a group.
- You don't have to be stuck indoors during winter. Good winter activities include snowboarding, ice skating, ice fishing and more.
- Running errands around town - do it on foot as much as you can to get in some exercise.
- Leisurely drives - it’s not as active as other activities, but you still expose yourself to sunlight. It’s also great for stress and anxiety.
Now and then, consider doing some of these outdoor activities with other people. Even if your friends won’t join you, you can probably find a local jogging or hiking club.
The social aspect further improves mental health and will help you sleep even better. You’ll also find it easier to push yourself more in activities like hiking or running, when you do it with other people.