Camping Reboots Your Sleep Cycle?

Photo source: Design n Trend

Photo source: Design n Trend

A report came out about a study regarding camping and rebooting our sleep cycle. Just another reason to get outdoors more! Curious as to how it went? Read below.

Source: Design n Trend

Article by Timothy Koppe published on August 3, 2013 @ 09:29 AM EDT

Trouble sleeping? Try camping.

At least, that’s the advice offered by researchers who published a new study in Current Biology. According to that study, camping can also synchronize our internal clocks to the solar day, allowing us to normalize melatonin levels.

The study was conducted at the Colorado University-Boulder, in a state renowned for its beautiful camping sites. The researchers from the Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory used this to their advantage when they monitored eight participants of varying sexes– six men, two women aged an average of 30 years– for a week as they went about their normal activities under electric light.

For the second week, the team them moved the same group outside to Colorado’s Eagles Nest Wilderness and monitored them as the they went camping without access to flashlights or electronic devices.

For the researchers to gather accurate metrics, they had the participants wear wrist monitors, during both weeks. These monitors recorded the amount of light to which they were exposed, the timing of the light, and the participants’ activities, including sleep. At the end of both weeks, researchers recorded the participants’ circadian clocks in their lab by measuring melatonin, a hormone that signals the beginning of our biological nighttime.

After studying the results, the researchers concluded that, on average, the test group’s biological night times began about 2 hours later when they were exposed to electrical lighting–i.e. everyday life– compared with when they were camping and only exposed to sunlight or fire light.

Perhaps most interestingly, in addition to going to sleep later, the participants also woke up before their biological night had ended when exposed to electric light.

The researchers admit that while electricity–and the ability to light our homes, which most of the country has been doing since the 1930’s–is one of the most major inventions in history, it has thrown off our natural sleep cycles.

As a result, the authors of the study have a few bits of advice on how to get a better rest:

Get more sunlight in the morning and midday to nudge internal clocks earlier. Dim electrical lights at night and skip late-night TV or laptop use to help internal clocks stay more in sync with the solar day.

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