People go into the outdoors to get away. But it actually makes you healthier.
A study by the University of Colorado proves that by going camping, our bodies can readjust their sleeping schedules into a more natural state.
This, in turn, is healthier for your body and overall state of mind. The study was published in Current Biology in August of 2013 and proves that just a week in the outdoors can realign your circadian sleep synchronization—that is, getting up with the sun and going to bed with the sun. Here’s CU-Boulder integrative physiology Professor Kenneth Wright:
“What’s remarkable is how, when we’re exposed to natural sunlight, our clocks perfectly become in synch in less than a week to the solar day.
When you are camping, there is virtually no artificial light, and this helps your body get back into its natural sleeping pattern. Everyone knows “screen-time” is unhealthy and there are actually scientific reasons to back that up. Your body releases melatonin when it is time for bed so if you tend to stay up late, watching TV, and feel groggy in the morning, it may be because your body is still releasing melatonin. It is still in “sleep mode.”
To combat a person’s genetic drift toward later nights, exposure to more sunlight in the morning and midday could help nudge his or her internal clock earlier. Also, dimming electrical lights at night, forgoing late-night TV and cutting out screen time with laptops and other personal electronic devices also may help internal circadian clocks stay more closely attuned with the solar day.
We all know that sleeping in the pitch-black forest under the stars feels good but now there is scientific evidence to prove it. The overall lesson? Go sleep out in the wilderness away from the TV, your laptop and phone, it is good for you.