When you look out your window at home, what do you see? If there’s no greenery or body of water, it may be a factor detracting from your sleep. 

Results from a recently published study in the journal Environmental Research found that people who lived on streets with more trees and vegetation were less likely to experience insufficient sleep, defined as six hours or less per night. A similar benefit to sleep was observed in people who have views of blue spaces, such as lakes, rivers, or coastline. 

People that lived in greener streets reported better mental health, which was the driving factor behind getting a better night’s sleep
Dr. Leanne Martin
University of Exeter in England

This study alone does not prove causation, but the evidence suggests that water views and green streets can enhance mental health, leading to sounder sleep. 

“People that lived in greener streets reported better mental health, which was the driving factor behind getting a better night’s sleep,” said Dr. Leanne Martin, the paper’s lead author and a lecturer at the University of Exeter in England.

The study was based on survey results from over 18,000 people in 18 countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, and several European nations. Participants were asked about their sleep, exposure to nature, emotional wellness, and physical activity level. 

After controlling for age, socioeconomic status, and other demographic variables, the researchers found that the more perceived green and blue space around a home, the less likely participants were to report insufficient sleep. Spending leisure time in nature was also associated with emotional wellness and a reduced risk of sleep deprivation. Despite some variability, the survey showed similar results across countries.

While statistically significant, the total impact of exposure to nature wasn’t huge. Views of vegetation and water were correlated with about a 5% reduction in rates of insufficient sleep . However, given the consequences of sleep deprivation, a 5% improvement can have a meaningful impact on public health. 

Based on these findings, steps to develop green spaces in urban areas may promote individual sleep hygiene. At the same time, organizations like the CDC have recognized that green spaces have multiple benefits, including fostering community interactions, reducing pollution, and preventing heat buildup in cities.   

“Streetscape greening initiatives already exist in urban cities to tackle environmental risks like flooding and heat island effects,” Dr. Martin said. “Our findings suggest policymakers should extend that to residential areas to support public health by promoting healthier sleep habits.” 

Of course, not everyone has a view with abundant trees or coastline. But this study focused on the impact of participants’ subjective rating of the greenery around them. So if you can’t change where you live, it may be worthwhile to change your perspective by trying to notice and appreciate the natural features that are around you.

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3 Sources

  1. Martin, L., White, M. P., Elliott, L. R., Grellier, J., Astell-Burt, T., Bratman, G. N., Lima, M. L., Nieuwenhuijsen, M., Ojala, A., Roiko, A., van den Bosch, M., & Fleming, L. E. (2024). Mechanisms underlying the associations between different types of nature exposure and sleep duration: An 18-country analysis. Environmental research, 250, 118522. Advance online publication.

  2. Seymour, T. (2024, March). Greener streets linked to better sleep. University of Exeter., Retrieved April 5, 2024, from

  3. Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. (2022, March 16). What’s your role? Parks, recreation, and green spaces. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention., Retrieved April 5, 2024, from


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