How A Weekend Camping Trip Can Help People Sleep Earlier
A new research reveals that a single weekend camping trip can help people reset their body clock and get to sleep earlier. The idea is to stay a few days outdoors and away from artificial lights.
The research team is working on the connection between natural and artificial light and sleep patterns. Circadian rhythm is a natural 24-hour cycle of physical and mental changes happening in the body. Researchers found out that electric lighting can disrupt that pattern by as much as two and a half hours. This can delay the sleep pattern as well.
When the researchers sent a group of eight people on a camping trip during the summer for a week, they found exciting results. The night owls turned into early risers.
During the camping trip, the group were not allowed to bring flashlights, flashing cell phones or any other artificial lights. Only the campfire was lit.
A more current research conducted by a team from University of Colorado, Boulder and Sweden's Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm Univeristy, saw similar result. A group of people went on a camping trip for a week in the middle of winter. Researchers want to know if shorter days and lower levels of sunlight would be enough to make people to sleep earlier.
A second group was sent on a camping trip for only two days and their body clock was reset and they had earlier bed times. According to Kenneth Wright of University of Colorado Boulder said that living in modern environments affects the circadian rhythm.
Wright said that late circadian and sleep timing may have negative effects on performance and health. It could lead into accidents, reduced work productivity, substance abuse, diabetes, obesity and mood disorders. He added that people can design their homes and environment to favour daylight and darkness without having to go on a camping trip.