Ah, camping. The mere thought conjures up picturesque views of nature, nights spent under the stars, and the bliss of camaraderie around a roaring fire. It marks an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle of life and the demands of work in the modern world. For many, camping is a much-needed breather from the stress brought on by life. But even more than that, and what most aren’t aware of, is that it can severely impact the way you sleep. That’s right, a weekend in the wilderness might be all that you need to reboot your sleep cycle.
The technological advancements of the modern world are spectacular for the way they make our lives easier and improve our communication with one another – but, with all the good comes, unfortunately, a bit of bad. It’s these advancements that have bungled the way that our brains are designed to function. Our circadian rhythm was purposed to enable optimal physical and cognitive functions for after sunrise and before sunset, and to wind down during dark hours. In other words, your natural circadian rhythm is meant to promote activity during the day and encourage sleep at night. One of the world’s greatest technological shifts occurred with the advent of electricity, completely and permanently altering the way we sleep. In fact, the ever pervasive presence of unnatural light in the modern world delays the average person’s circadian rhythm by about two hours.
So, where does that leave us? Stuck in a perpetual rut of restless sleep? Fortunately, we don’t necessarily have to be, so long as we take the time out to enjoy the earth’s natural wonders amid the age of technology. A study conducted by Professor Kenneth Wright of the University of Colorado, in which he observed a small group of adults camping out in the wilderness over the course of two weeks, revealed that in the presence of natural light and in the absence of electronic devices, the subjects saw a significant improvement in their restful sleep. By the end of the study, they also saw an overall improvement in their temperament. “Our findings clearly demonstrate that reduced exposure to sunlight and the widespread use of electrical lighting in the constructed environment has altered human circadian physiology leading to a major change in the timing of our sleep and wakefulness,” noted Wright.
So if we’re to take a hint from the study, does that mean that camping could be the secret to better sleep? The results of the study seem to speak for themselves, and to suggest that a little extra time spent in nature could be the ultimate secret to a better night’s sleep. If you’re truly looking for an escape on your next vacation, there’s no better way to relax and unwind than by pitching your tent, taking in nature and letting your body do the rest (literally).