In modern society, sleep is as much of a luxury as anything else. Very few people are getting the amount of sleep needed to function properly during the day and not cause unnecessary stress on the body. In recent studies, researchers have found out that more than a third of all-American adults get less than seven hours of sleep. More importantly, scientists have discovered a correlation between the lack of sleep and the onset of depression, diabetes as well as many other ailments. Fortunately, the study also gave us a good remedy: hiking, or more accurately, camping under the stars, for at least a week.
One of the biggest culprits that cause our sleep issues are the screens we surround ourselves with on a daily basis. Our phone and computer addictions affect our bodies in a way that they think that we are still in the daytime, and they throw our hormones out of balance, causing us to mess up our own sleep schedule. We start staying up longer and waking up less rested. So, it makes perfect sense how a few days away from all of that can make a world of difference for your sleep cycle.
The study showed that even a short break may potentially reset our internal clocks. So, a camping trip during the winter times is maybe just what your body needs in order to reset itself and function properly for the next couple of months.
Later the study followed people who went camping during the summer for an entire week. The study showed that a person that was used to going to bed at 11 p.m. started going to sleep a whole four hours earlier after the week spent under the stars.
Our body has a pretty accurate way of knowing when to sleep and that is when melatonin levels are high. That is what our bodies consider as the biological night. Over the course of seven days, our body is capable of completely syncing our biological night with the sunset and sunrise.
Going to sleep when the sun sets is a luxury few of us can afford. But does the season also affect our sleep schedule? Scientists already know that our sleep schedules during summer time, but what kind of effect does the winter time have since we are exposed to less sunlight. Does camping during winter time help as much also? The researchers formed a test group and sent them into to woods to find out. Baseline tests were performed first, and the sleep habits and light exposure of the participants were measured during the week before the trip.
When comparing the biological clocks of the group before and after the trip, they determined that the internal sleep schedule moved a whole two and a half hours back. Also, the test subjects were exposed to natural light much more while camping, which also proved beneficial for the resetting of their metabolism. So, it is not just that the artificial light at night is bad. The lack of natural light during the day is as detrimental, if not more.
The biggest issue with this is that, unfortunately, the benefits of fixing your sleep schedule while camping start wearing off pretty quickly. But a combination of a camping trip and some adjustment to your lifestyle might really do wonders for your body and health. Adjustments like a set time when you go to bed and limiting screen time before bed for at least an hour might prove to be beneficial. This is a very important topic that is gaining more and more steam as people realize how important regular sleep is for overall health.
There are very few people on this planet who enjoy their work more than Aner Banner. His friends often readily admit that Aner eats, sleeps, and breaths science 24 hours a day. He is always challenging old methods, proposing new ideas, and seeking to solve difficult problems. Aner spends most of the day imparting his wisdom to the young minds of a small elementary school. Thankfully he has also mastered the art of making science come alive for the future leaders of our nation. He is loved and well respected by students, parents, and faculty alike. His motto forever remains “never stop learning.