Camping can help you get a better sleep
A new study published in the journal Current Biology notes that the key to getting a good night's sleep may be to spend more time outdoors.
The authors of the paper believe that sharing the environment with so many technological devices could be responsible for the problems of the circadian rhythm of sleep and time, which causes us to have problems to fall asleep and remain asleep.
Other research has already shown that exposure to electrical and artificial lighting can cause as much as a two-hour delay in our internal clocks as abnormal fluctuations in melatonin levels, which alters normal sleep patterns.
The new research indicates that a weekend camp can quickly restore our biological clock.
The author of the paper, Kenneth Wright, an assistant professor in the department of kinesiology and applied physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder said in a statement that "our modern environment has really changed the time of our internal clocks but also the time when we sleep In relation to our watch. " And in that sense explained that "a weekend trip can restore our biological clock quickly," because moving away from the lighting environment can help synchronize a person's biological clock with the natural rhythms of day and night.
To perform the study, they performed two experiments. They first studied the normal lives of five active participants, who were then sent to camp for a week in the middle of winter, when the days were at their shortest point, and had to get rid of flashlights, cell phones, and all other light sources artificial.
The results showed that more time outdoors and away from artificial light improved participants' sleep.
Before participants embarked on their camping trip, they measured their melatonin levels over a 24-hour period, after they spent six days maintaining their usual sleep schedule. Levels of melatonin, the so-called sleep hormone, rise and fall throughout the day, and those levels may change in response to light.
After the camp the researchers measured their melatonin levels again. While they were camping, they were exposed to light that was 13 times brighter than the light they were exposed to while traveling, the researchers found.
As a result they found that melatonin levels of campers began to rise 2.6 hours earlier, compared to when they were at home, while when they were camping, they went to sleep 2.5 hours earlier than when they were in a modern setting , And slept about 2.3 hours more.
Then the camping effect was also tested in the warmer months of the summer when the researchers sent nine camp participants, also without artificial light and left five others being studied in the house. The 9 campers were exposed to more light during the day than the 5 people who stayed at home, but the difference was not as great as that observed in winter. Those who came out in the summer were exposed to four times more light during the day, compared to the 13-fold increase in exposure to light from those who went out in winter. This may be because people are already exposed to more light in the summer because they spend more time outdoors than in the winter, the researchers explained.
After the second experiment they found that the summer camp group went to bed almost at the same time when they camped the weekend when they were at home. But the summer group that did not camp went to bed almost 2 hours later during the weekend.
People's sleep cycles are often disrupted over the weekend, when they go to bed later than usual, but spending the weekend camping avoided this typical disruption, according to the authors' finding. In addition, the melatonin levels of the campers began to increase about an hour and a half before their camp weekend trip, while melatonin levels in the group that stayed at home began to increase about an hour later Weekend compared to when they got up during the week.
More natural, less artificial light
In conclusion, the authors noted that both experiments have shown that a weekend camping trip may be enough to restore their internal clock and, in turn, regulate their melatonin levels, causing a better sleep rhythm.
Researchers suggest increased exposure to sunlight during the day and decreased use of artificial light for those trying to go to sleep at a reasonable time, and scheduling a camping trip for those who find that their pattern of Sleep has changed significantly.
For the author of the study the important thing would be to be more exposed to the more natural sunlight, "it might be to start the day with a walk outside, or bring more light inside if you can, or sit next to a window" while It is "equally important to lower exposure to artificial lights at night".