When you’re having trouble sleeping, how do you get your body to relax?
Some people like to play games on their smart devices to help, some like to read, some like to work out, others may just need a glass of wine after a rough day or week, and enjoy silence before having to go through it all over again. I mean, you only have another 40 years to go, right?
Regardless of the “why,” we all need a little R and R in some form or another and there’s no right answer for how to go about it.
But, biologically speaking, camping is probably one of the best ways to unwind whilst resetting your internal clock.
Sure, there’s bugs and wild animals in nature, but there’s also something so right about being woken up by the sun and nature, while on the other end enjoying a beautiful sunset to help get you ready for some of the best sleep you will ever have.
Twice a year my family goes camping for a week at one of the most beautiful beaches human eyes will ever lay eyes on.
Camping during Thanksgiving week is probably one of my most anticipated times of the year.
It’s a tradition that my family started when I was just a little rascal, and I hope to keep going through my daughter and her children after me.
So other than being able to go to the bathroom in a bush near your tent, what makes camping so special?
Well, a few years back, there was a study done by the University of Colorado Boulder that was published in the journal Current Biology. What the study found was that natural light has the ability to sync up the circadian clocks of the participating campers to one another, regardless if they were early risers or late sleepers.
According to study leader, CU-Boulder integrative physiology Professor Kenneth Write, “What’s remarkable is how, when we’re exposed to natural sunlight, our clocks perfectly become in sync in less than a week to the solar day.”
Thanks to Thomas Edison, our internal circadian clocks have been thrown off since the invention of the light bulb. Artificial light affects our body’s naturally ability to prepare for sleep and the process of waking up.
What’s most compelling about the information gained from this study is how much it can help those suffering from sleeping disorders.
During the study, the participants, both men and women, were not permitted to use any electronic devices, but only the use of sunlight during the day and the radiance of a campfire at night.
So, the next time you’re feeling a little drowsy at work or school, and realize that you’ve stayed awake maybe a tad too late the previous night, know that the reason is actually because of Melatonin. The Melatonin level’s in your body affect your biological clock and can keep you in nighttime mode, even during the day!
For those of you wondering, Melatonin is a hormone your body produces to help control your sleep and wake cycles.
Now if you’d like to give your body’s biological clock a little shove in the right direction, you can try exposing yourself to a little more natural light in the morning and midday.
You can also cut back on late-night TV while also setting your phones and tablets aside to help reset your circadian clock, according to Write.
With that in mind, next time you’re planning a relaxing vacation with the family or significant other to try and get away from it all, maybe give the great outdoors a try.
It might be better for you than you think and who knows, you might come back feeling more refreshed than ever, ready to take on anything life throws at you.
Thomas Edison once said: “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.” In no way shape or form am I complaining about electricity as I use it constantly and love him for that, but maybe we should start blaming him for sleep disorders like insomnia.