Just over 50% of United States employees report coming back from vacation feeling rested and refreshed, and now scientists are actually able to tell us why.
A new study by Michigan State University has just proven why spending time by a beach can leave you feeling rested, relaxed, and refreshed.
Researchers at Michigan State University recently discovered that living in a location where you have the chance to see a lot of blue spaces, like a body of water, leads to lower levels of “psychological distress.”
The research focused on the city of Wellington in New Zealand and took multiple factors into account to determine whether or not living near the ocean improved mental health.
The study even looked at tooth loss when compared to living near a large body of water as an indicator of physical health. The researchers found, importantly, that tooth loss was actually not associated with living near blue space.
They looked at demographics of age, sex, and wealth, and despite differences in all of the above, living by the sea improved mental health across the board.
The abstract of the study states that the team “investigated whether increased visibility of nature (green and blue space) was associated with lower psychological distress (K10 scores).”
Green space did not have the same intensity of the effect that blue space had, but researchers found that it still had a positive impact on mental health.
While the study didn’t examine the effects of shorter time periods spent by bodies of water, many travelers still believe that the sounds, smells, and sight of an ocean still “evoke that feeling of island time,” Travel and Leisure reports.
According to Amber Pearson, one of the co-authors of the study, the presence of natural backdrops “reduces sensory stimuli and promotes mental relaxation.”
If you’re not sure where to go for your vacation this year, it might be wise to skip the mountains and leave Colorado for some sand and sun. If science says it works, then it’s worth a shot.