I keep meeting people who are always complaining about not able to get sleep and even if they sleep they feel they are not rested very well, they have a difficult time getting out of bed in the morning. I am sure a lot of people in this modern day environment are going through this. Not long back even I used to face this issue.
Over a period of time, I realised a strange pattern, whenever I went out and connected with nature over a weekend I was fine. That week I would sleep properly and wake up with full energy. I actually started monitoring this for myself and realised it works. Some of my friends also noticed the same difference in their daily sleep patterns.
Recently I came across a research report and I was thrilled because it actually authenticates what I have been experiencing.
As per the Research report from the University of Colorado, there are too many distractions in modern life, many of us are struggling to fall asleep at night and find it difficult to wake up in the morning.
But the results of this new study suggest that a weekend of camping could be enough to help reset the circadian (daily) rhythms that are keeping us awake.
Researchers from the University of Colorado, Boulder monitored the sleep patterns of people living their regular lives at home, and those who spent a weekend camping without artificial light, and not only saw that they went to bed earlier, but follow-up results also showed that their melatonin expression had shifted.
Melatonin is the hormone that’s released in response to darkness at night to make us feel sleepy, but the problem is that many of us are staring at our screens for longer than ever before, which means melatonin is getting released later than it should be, and our body clocks are getting out of whack.
But the team showed that camping away from artificial light, even just for a weekend, could help fix the problem.
The study compared people who went camping with people who stayed at home and showed that the campers fell asleep up to 1.8 hours earlier than those who stayed home, and woke up earlier too.
An even bigger difference was seen when the researchers sent people camping for a week the extra time in the outdoors resulted in melatonin being released in their bodies 2.6 hours earlier than before the experiment.
“Late circadian and sleep timing in modern society are associated with negative performance and health outcomes such as morning sleepiness and accidents, reduced work productivity and school performance, substance abuse, mood disorders, diabetes, and obesity,” said lead researcher Kenneth Wright. “Our findings demonstrate that living in our modern environments contributes to late circadian timing regardless of season and that a weekend camping trip can reset our clock rapidly.”