COVID-19 Social Distancing and Sleep: Explore the Great Outdoors!

Kids playing outside with water balloons

The benefits of exercise on sleep have been well documented for decades. Now that schools are closed and sports teams/activities are cancelled, we can make a concerted effort to provide an abundance of outdoor activities and exercise.

Not only will this help our kids to sleep better at night, but it will also boost their mood, and keep them away from the TV and other technologies. Normal daily group play activities stimulates and fatigues children which in turn helps them to sleep during naps and at night. With social distancing, children will not be getting as much stimulation from others, so outdoor activity is perhaps the best way to replace the group play activity which promotes sleep.

In a lengthy and comprehensive article published by the National Wildlife Federation, a myriad of research studies revealed outdoor activities and exercise substantially increased the ability to sleep in children along with many other physical, mental, and emotional benefits, and were superior to indoor activities. In their article urging parents to replace screen time with green time, the National Wildlife Federation suggests the following tips, all of which are supported by research:

☀️ Getting your kids outdoors especially in the morning.

☀️ Natural light promotes sleep better than artificial (indoor) light because it increases endorphins and melatonin.

☀️ While sport teams are great, kids still need an hour of unstructured outdoor play and activity.

☀️ Simply viewing nature and vegetation produces many benefits including improved sleep.


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