Camping can help reset body clock
Camping for a week can help reset a person’s body clock, and make it easier to wake up in the morning feeling alert, according to a study published in the journal Current Biology. The study found that participants spent more time in natural light and less time in artificial lighting, which shifted their bedtime and wake-up time up two hours earlier, with night owls seeing the greatest shift.
Night owl schedules shifted to look more like earlier morning types, and said they felt more alert in the morning.
For the study, researchers looked at eight adults with an average age of 30, who did not have sleep problems. Participants spent a week living their usual lives, but wore a wristwatch device to track their light exposure. Then they spent a week camping in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and were only exposed to sunlight and the glow of a campfire, but no artificial light.
Before and after camping, researchers measured the participant’s melatonin level to act as a marker for each person’s biological clock. During the week of camping, participants were exposed to four times the natural light compared to their normal lives. More natural light caused their internal clock to become perfectly synced with nature’s light and dark cycles.
Researchers say by getting more natural light during the day, people can reset their body clock to be more in line with sleep-wake cycles.