In the modern environment of street lights, run woes, and glaring phone screens, it’s no amaze more and more of us are get fewer and less sleep. But according to new research, spending a weekend in the great outdoors could be the perfect remedy.
The new two-part survey, published in Current Biology, took a group of human guinea pigs out to Colorado’s Eagle’s Nest Wilderness for a summer weekend while another group bided at home. They werent allowed to use any source of lighting except for the campfire and, of course, the Sun. Throughout this time, they woreadapted watches thatmeasured high levels of lighting they received. After two days, researcherscarried out a series of tests to see how they fared.
These analyzes suggest that our internal clock answers strongly and quite rapidly to the natural light-dark cycle, lead author Kenneth Wright, anintegrative physiology prof at the University of Colorado, Boulder, said in astatement.Living in our modern surroundings can significantly delay our circadian timing and late circadian timing is associated with many health outcomes. But as little as a weekend camping trip-up can reset it.
The science says that your pattern of sleep is governed by melatonin. This hormone physiologically prepares for the body for sleep and coordinates our biological sleep rhythm, also known as the circadian rhythm. The release of the hormone is partially governed by the surrounding light environment.
A podcastby Professor Kenneth Wright talking about this sleep and camping survey
Following this one summer weekend, the researchers analyzed the campers’saliva and found that their melatonin rise began 1.4 hours earlier.
For the second part of the research, they carried out a similar survey in the dead of wintertime. Upon returning, their nightly bump of melatonin resulted 2.6 hours earlier.
The issue of a disturbed circadian rhythm is much more than simply be very difficult sleeping at night. A disturbed circadian rhythm has been associated with numeroushealth problems, includingpoor cognitive performance, mood disorders, diabetes, and obesity.
Unfortunately, regularly sleeping under the stars isnt always an option if you have to wake up at 7am for run the next morning. The researchers say you can help address the problem simply by becoming ever more bright natural lighting during the day and turning off smartphones and laptops an hour or two before you want to sleep.
Wright added: Our findings highlight an opportunity for architectural design to bring more natural sunlight into the modern constructed environment and to work with illuminating companies to incorporate tunable illuminating that could change across the day and night to enhance performance, health and well-being.