Winter Camping Is Like Hitting 'Reset'
Looking for a way to sleep better and boost your health this winter? New research suggests a weekend camping trip may just help do that.
Our internal clock or circadian rhythm, which co-ordinates how our body functions with our sleep-wake cycle, plays an important role in our overall health—affecting our alertness, mood, physical and mental strength, and disease risk. Daylight—of which there is less in the winter months—keeps our circadian rhythm on a somewhat regular 24-hour cycle, but modern life—smartphones, alarms, shift work, artificial light, etc.—can interfere with that process.
According to a recent study, camping—even a weekend excursion—can help reset our circadian rhythm. The study showed that, over the course of a week, winter campers are exposed to 13 times more natural light than at home. In addition, levels of melatonin—a hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle—increase with exposure to nothing but natural light and the light of a campfire, and campers adjust to sleeping and waking according their internal body clocks.
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