Among the many benefits of gardening, the boost in your ability to get a good night’s sleep is one of the best. Sleep has a paramount impact on your quality of life – if you don’t get enough sleep you may not be as alert and focused the next day.
Other perks of gardening include keeping your body flexible, the bounty you enjoy (whether flowers or food) and creating a beautiful spot to boost your sense of well-being.
There’s also something to be said for getting in touch with the earth. We generally live “dirt-free” lives – almost sterile in nature. But playing in the earth can be a good thing when it relaxes you and gets you ready for a restorative night’s sleep.
Even if you’re limited to gardening in pots, the act can have a huge impact on keeping your stress levels low and improving your mental and physical states. It’s a leisure activity that most can join in and create a beautiful and happy place.
The Scientific Explanation
The scientific explanation of how gardening can help you get a good night’s sleep is multi-faceted and addresses all the senses – touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound. The mental and physical health boost that gardening brings into your life is well documented as a positive influence to cultivate in your lifestyle.
If you’re subject to bouts of mood swings and/or depression, gardening is proven to provide a major improvement by addressing all the senses in a positive way. For example, digging in the dirt, tasting the bounty that you helped to grow, smelling fresh earth or plants, viewing the beauty of a well-tended garden and listening to the wind, the chirp of birds and other garden sounds can help you relax and lift your mood.
Gardening is an activity that relaxes all the senses in such a unique manner that you can’t find elsewhere. Studies indicate that people who are diagnosed with depression, mood swings and bipolar disorder and spent up to six hours per week gardening flowers or vegetables show intense improvement in their symptoms.
These people reported a much-improved lifestyle and better habits and much more luck in getting a good night’s sleep. Plus, scientists have found that a harmless bacteria (Mycobacterium) found in soil has the power to help release serotonin in parts of the brain having to do with mood and cognitive functioning.
While not as powerful as the medications sometimes prescribed for depression and insomnia, gardening does put back some help to your immune system that’s quite lacking in our environment of today.
The exercise you get from gardening is also a scientific factor in helping you finally achieve a good night’s sleep. The fresh air and sunshine are like a powerful tonic on your immune system and gets your blood flowing.
Gardening is an especially good exercise to choose if you’re limited in movement. While it doesn’t usually give you a cardiovascular workout, it does move your muscles with the digging, weeding, planting, and other gardening tasks.
Stretching and most gardening tasks are low impact but are found to greatly help those who are in their senior years have certain disabilities or those suffering from chronic pain.
Another plus to gardening exercise is that you’ll more than likely stick to the program and get regular exercise because a garden takes tending and if you want to realize the most beauty and bounty from it, you’ll want to keep up with the tasks.
Your brain health can be boosted with the exercise and other experiences you gain from gardening. Many seniors, faced with mental decline have found that simply walking through a garden is therapeutic.
Now, residential homes for those with memory problems are including gardens in their landscaping so the residents can enjoy a walk without fear from getting lost. That positive influence also extends to bedtime hours.
Your diet can also be a factor in how you sleep at night. Gardening makes you much more aware of your eating habits and gives you the opportunity to grow some foods you can eat.
Scientific surveys show that those who grow and eat much of their food from a garden are much more likely to eat healthier than non-gardeners. It’s also a big factor in helping kids eat healthier. They’re more likely to eat veggies and fruit they have a hand in growing.