You might not see this slogan on a T-shirt or coffee mug, but the message is still the same: The road to better sleep is paved through good habits. One of the best habits you can form is participating in outdoor activities. Research suggests when we leave our cozy indoor cocoons for the fresh outdoors, good things happen for our health. Studies have shown that spending time outside can reset your circadian clock and prevent sleep delay.1
If you’re an indoor enthusiast looking for advice on how to form healthy habits, you’ve come to the right place. These seven easy ways to spend more time outdoors just may improve your sleep.
The sweet call of your couch after a long day of work or life commitments is tempting. While you may have good intentions of getting up after you’ve decompressed, well, we know how that can go.
Cross off post-work routine items before you get home. This can mean anything from eating a healthy snack before your commute so you’re not rushing for dinner, or practicing mindful breathing in your car to decompress.
This should give you more momentum to immediately go for a walk or bike ride around the neighborhood before you turn indoors for the night.
We’re all guilty of not taking advantage of our city’s best assets (until family is in town, anyway), but why wait? Becoming a tourist in your neighborhood is an excellent way to spend time outside. The more time you’re outdoors – especially in green spaces – the lower the risk of disease and higher the amount of time you stay asleep.2
Easy ways to explore your city
One of the biggest excuses for skipping out on outdoor recreation is lack of time. When you’re chained to chores like laundry or grocery shopping on the weekends, doing something more involved like hiking or kayaking feels off the table. It doesn’t have to be.
You can make a chart of after-work chores that, when you chip away at them over a few days, loosen up your weekend. For example, you can designate Mondays for laundry, Tuesdays for vacuuming and Wednesdays for groceries. (Bonus: many products go on sale Wednesdays and Thursdays.) This leaves you free time for exploration and outdoor activity.
If after-work activities are not realistic for you, consider adding a few steps – literally – to your morning and lunch routine. Give yourself 15 extra minutes in the morning to walk around the block or take a breather during your meal break at work.
Making time to walk can not only lower your stress levels during the day, but the physical activity can also prevent negative effects on your sleep.3
When you enjoy doing something, it becomes a seamless part of your routine. This is why it’s so crucial to find an outdoor hobby you like. If you can join a group in the same activity, even better! Studies have shown that people who exercise with others enjoy the activities more.4
Hobbies that get you outside:
Sometimes the act of investing in an activity gives you more incentive to keep it up. This can mean purchasing a pair of good walking shoes, nice sunglasses or a sun hat – something that makes you feel and look good. When you put a little investment behind it, your motivation to get out there may increase!
Who knows, maybe posting those pictures of you in your new attire will inspire others in your friend group or family to join you outdoors.
One of the easiest ways to make outdoor activities more enjoyable is to add a soundtrack. While bird songs can be soothing, if you need some motivation in your headphones to keep the energy up, go for it! Creating different playlists for different activities is another fun way to contribute to your new hobbies.
Adding a little competition can help as well. If you make a habit of counting steps each week, you can challenge yourself or others to break records and outpace each other every month.
By forming simple habits to add to your weekly routine, you’ll find it easier to make time for the great outdoors. Enjoy the fresh air and good sleep that comes with it. Just remember your sunscreen!
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