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Earth Day 2021: Climate Change's Effects on Our Sleep, Anxiety, and Mood

by BetterSleep
Apr 16 • 4 min read

Earth Day falls on April 22nd, at a time of year when we can fully enjoy the many benefits of our natural world. With the pandemic still top of mind, this Earth Day is a reminder of how our health – both mental and physical – remains intimately linked to the planet’s wellbeing.

Climate anxiety, also known as eco-anxiety, is on the rise. For Earth Day 2021, BetterSleep took a deep dive into how worrying about climate change and the environment affect our sleep, stress, and mood.

We conducted a survey on climate anxiety, and received responses from 1000 participants from around the world. Here’s what we learned:

Out of 1000 people surveyed globally:

  • 45% say their sleep was regularly impacted by climate anxiety this past year
  • 63% have had their mood poorly affected by climate worries this year
  • 57% say monitoring the climate crisis in the news negatively contributes to their anxiety levels
  • 40% are equally worried about climate change and the pandemic
  • 15% are more concerned about climate change and the environment than the pandemic
  • Very high levels of climate change anxiety have risen by 264% in the last 5 years
  • 75% believe that not enough is currently being done to help manage the environmental issues in their communities
  • 76% take daily action to minimize their environmental footprint

Here are the top 5 ways people have been taking climate action from home:

  1. 🛍️ Reusing packaging & bags
  2. ♻️ Recycling
  3. 🍽️ Minimizing food waste
  4. 📚 Self-educating on issues at hand
  5. 🧑‍🌾 Shopping locally (for food, clothing, and products) whenever possible

What Can We Do?

There are steps we can take to manage feelings of stress, worry, and a sense of a loss of control that stem from the climate crisis:

Spend more time with loved ones. Whether it’s family, friends, or a pet, being with those who make us feel safe is a surefire way to feel better.

Get outside. Fresh air makes all the difference. Even a short walk can do wonders for your wellbeing.

Plant a seed. The feeling of your hands in the soil can be grounding and even soothe anxiety. Try planting herbs (mint, basil, thyme, and rosemary) that can be potted and used for cooking. Gardening can bring you a strong sense of accomplishment.

Take action. Find local causes and donate to them. Remember that any amount helps. Challenge yourself to pick up 25 pieces of garbage in your neighborhood. Watch YouTube videos on how to make simple clothing repairs to increase the longevity of your garments, or how to make natural cleaning products. Taking action will bring a sense of empowerment. Remember that small changes can make a big difference.

Meditate. When anxiety hits, our breathing tends to become shallow. Meditation helps us become aware of our breath and bring us back to the present moment. BetterSleep offers many different types of meditations to help guide you.

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