Advertising
Advertising

Scientists Confirm Living Near Water Can Improve Mental Health

Scientists Confirm Living Near Water Can Improve Mental Health

We all love the scenic views of the ocean, lakes, streams and even ponds. There just seems to be something calming about water, and people everywhere stop to look when they see even a painting where water is featured. Beachfront vacations are the most popular around the world because we associate water with relaxation. So it wasn’t surprising when a recent study confirmed what we already know–water is good for the soul.

The study, published in the journal Health & Place, found that people who live near water have better mental health than those who don’t. It is thought that those who live near trees and lots of green space have an advantage, but the study discovered that water trumps trees every time. Researchers made sure to look at other factors as well, such as financial information and job stress, but they still found that to improve mental health, you must be able to see water from where you live. So what is it about water that gives it the power to improve mental health?

Advertising

Water puts things in perspective

ocean 2

    While this particular study focused on people living near the ocean, those who live close to lakes and rivers also know the calming effect that water has on them. There is something about seeing and hearing the movement of water that calms the soul. It’s so much bigger than you, your problems, your stress, that it seems to put things in perspective. Most of the time you don’t even realize you are gaining perspective on your problems by looking out at the water, but somewhere deep down, in your subconscious, it happens.

    Advertising

    It could be the ocean air

    ocean 3

      A couple hundred years ago, ocean air was prescribed by doctors when patients were not doing well. Sometimes the only antidote they could suggest was to take the patient to the ocean for an extended time. There were times when this did not work, but for some, the ocean air was what they needed to get well. No doctor prescribes time by the ocean anymore, but maybe they should in some cases. The researchers who conducted this study are not sure what it is about the water that improves mental health, but whatever it is, we need more of it!

      Advertising

      The tide could improve mental health

      ocean

        Well, not the tide alone, but the entire “order” of the ocean. No matter what’s going on in your life, or in the world, the ocean never stops. The tide comes in and out every day, right on time, regardless of what is happening. Waves continually come crashing to the shore, no matter what is going on inside or outside of the water. Maybe it’s the steadiness of the ocean that has the power to improve mental health.

        Advertising

        What if you can’t live near water?

        lake

          There are still things you can do to improve your mental health if it is not possible to live near water. Vast amounts of people live far inland, and there has to be something they can do for their mental health as well.

          Beachfront vacations are one suggestion, and they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. If you can’t afford to go to a resort, why don’t you try vacationing by a closer ocean? For example, if you live in Canada, go to the West or East coast for a few days. Spend some quality time by the Pacific or Atlantic Ocean and take it all in. Picture your worries going out with the tide. You can also invest in some pictures or paintings of the ocean and display them in your home. Put ocean sounds on and spend a few minutes each day looking at these scenes and relaxing. This way you still get the sights and sounds of the ocean, even though you can’t physically be there.

          Another suggestion is to rent a cottage for a few days in the summer. Spend a few days at a nearby lake as often as possible. If you live close enough to a lake, you can even go for walks along the beach in any season. When you have the opportunity to be near water, take it. You’ll be amazed at what it will do to improve mental health.

          More by this author

          12 Quick And Safe Ways To Get Rid Of A Stye Science Unlocks The Secret To Why Introverts Prefer Alone Time To Socializing Mother And Daughter: A Long-Awaited Reunion After 82 Years 8 Habits Of People Who Look Younger Than Their Actual Age Why Women Suffer From Insomnia More Often Than Men (And Ways To Help!)

          Trending in Home

          1 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of 2 5 Reasons Why Tidying Your Room Can Change Your Life 3 25 Really Cool Cat Furniture Design Ideas Every Cat Owner Needs 4 Scientists Discover Why You Should Take Off Your Shoes Before Entering Your Home 5 5 Ways to Deal with Snow Runoff in the Garage

          Read Next

          Advertising
          Advertising

          Last Updated on October 16, 2018

          The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

          The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

          It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

          If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

          One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

          Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

          In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

          Why you can’t sleep through the night

          The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

          Advertising

          Stress

          If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

          Exposure to blue light before sleep time

          We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

          While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

          Eating close to bedtime

          Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

          Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

          Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

          Advertising

          Medical conditions

          In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

          The vicious sleep cycle

          The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

          Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

          You get a bad night’s sleep
          –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
          –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
          –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

            You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

            Advertising

            How to sleep better (throughout the night)

            To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

            1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

            What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

            Here are a few suggestions:

            • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
            • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
            • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
            • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
            • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

            2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

            What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

            • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
            • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
            • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
            • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

            3. Adjust your sleep temperature

            Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

            Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

            Advertising

            Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

            Sleep better form now on

            Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

            I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

            As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

            Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

            Reference

            Read Next