Do you often feel rejuvenated after a camping trip? While days without work and the stresses of everyday life of life play a part in this, exposure to natural light may be the number one reason you feel so great. Here's why.
The Link Between Camping and Better Sleep
With less exposure to electrical lighting, the human body begins to sync with the rising and setting sun, which can temporarily cure insomnia. Kenneth Wright, a Colorado University-Boulder professor, wanted to test this theory.
In the study, conducted by Wright and a team of researchers, nine people were brought to Eagle Nest Wilderness with no electronics or items that could create light such as flashlights and headlamps. After one week, study participants reported they felt more energetic in the morning and were able to fall asleep easier at night.
"We find that after exposure to only natural light, the internal circadian clock [the 24-hour biological clock that determines when you fall asleep and wake up] synchronizes to solar time such that the beginning of the internal biological night occurs at sunset and the end of the internal biological night occurs before wake time just after sunrise," according to the study's summary, published in Current Biology.
There were two main factors that caused this result:
- Being outside exposes you to four times the amount of light photons because indoor lighting is weaker than natural lighting.
- When camping, you're exposed to more light early in the morning and less after sunset, which helps your body prepare for sleeping and waking.
Read the full study at ScienceDirect.com.
How You Can Sleep Better
While one camping trip can't cure insomnia forever, it can give you the refreshing sleep you need to catch up. Here are a few tips to make the most of your next trip:
Leave all electrical items at home so you're exposed to natural light only. Use your fire for light at night.
Sleep without a rain fly, if you can. This allows all the sunlight to come through, maximizing your body's ability to recognize that it's morning.
Find a Campground at ReserveAmerica.com.