Sleep is a crucial part of our day to day lives. We need at least eight hours per night or our health begins to suffer. Sadly, up to 40 percent of us are not getting those eight hours in. Our lifestyles — in which busy-ness is a matter of pride — has led to the average American getting less and less sleep every single decade since World War II. With the advent of smart devices and the constant glare of the black mirror, it has gotten much easier to distract ourselves instead of getting all that nourishing sleep.
Well, we should probably try and stop that according to a new study about our sleep patterns and exposure to light.
A study published in Current Biology tested our circadian clocks (that’s fancy science talk for our internal clocks) and how artificial and natural light conversely effects our sleeping patterns. They sent out two groups, group one went to the woods to camp using only “only sunlight, moonlight and campfires for illumination.” The second group stayed in well lit and well connected homes. There was a marked difference in the sleep patterns.
On average the campers went to sleep over two hours earlier than the group at home. This meant all the campers got around ten hours sleep per night. This led to higher levels of activity during the day.
The kicker came when the campers returned to the lab for testing. Even though they were no longer pitching up under the stars, their melatonin levels started increasing — urging the body to sleep — two to two-and-half hours before their pre-camping bed times. Their bodies had basically been reset. As the report puts it “a weekend in the wilds of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado helped reset people’s internal clocks and reversed the tendency of artificial light to push bedtime late into the night.”
Kenneth Wright, director of the sleep lab at the University of Colorado in Boulder, closes that you don’t necessarily have to head out to the woods every weekend to keep your sleep clock in check. He recommends “getting more natural sunlight, and that could be starting the day with a walk outside, or bringing more light indoors if you can, or sitting by a window. As important, though, is to dim the lights at night.”
Or you can grab the tent, sleeping bag, and cans of stew and head out into the great wilds of America! And maybe leave your phone in the car. In that case, here are some camping Instas to get your in the mood!
(Via The Guardian)