Do you have a bad biorhythm?
The inner body clock of most people in a civilized world is no longer consistent with nature and natural daily rhythm. According to experts, camping can help.
Scientists have found that our biorhythm can disrupt the artificial light that surrounds us daily. Staying in the countryside without artificial lighting can change our body clock to be in harmony with nature.
By camping, even night owls become larks
The new study showed that a week of camping, with sunlight and campfire in the evening, helped to align the inner clock with the natural daytime rhythm. Scientists have also found that even so-called “night owls” turn into early risers or “larks” after a week of camping in forests without artificial lighting, telephones, computers, and television.
“We already know that artificial light keeps us awake at night,” said research chief Dr. Kenneth Wright of Colorado University in the USA. Dr. Wright’s study sought to reveal the influence of exposure to light (both artificial and natural) on the human inner clock. Scientists have found that it is not just artificial light that keeps us awake, but also the lack of daylight.
A week without artificial lighting
For his study published in the August issue of Current Biology, Wright’s team hired eight healthy adults who were holding their normal daily routine for one week and spent another week camping together. During the week in nature, the only permitted light was daylight and the fire of the campfire.
At the end of each week, scientists took volunteer samples of saliva to measure their levels of melatonin – the hormone whose levels rise to the evening and cause drowsiness and then drop early to wake people up.
In nature, you will fall asleep before and get up early
Dr. Wright’s team found that the volunteers went to sleep at midnight at home and woke up around eight in the morning. However, in nature they went to sleep earlier and also got up early. The campers’ biological night began about two hours earlier than usual. This is because their melatonin values began to rise around sunset and then fell with dawn almost an hour before they got up.
“So they were more in line with the natural world,” Wright explained, adding that the type of light we are exposed to has a huge impact on our biological processes. Scientists have also noted that exposure to artificial light at night and the lack of sunlight during the day may contribute to sleep problems and morning fatigue in some people.
Artificial lighting affects melatonin levels
Previous studies have shown that in today’s civilized world full of artificial lighting, melatonin levels fall as long as two hours after people get up. Essentially, our biological night is still going on, even when we are up, so morning fatigue is so frequent.
If you can, have breakfast outside
If you are one of those who stay up and then get up in the morning, Dr. Wright advises to avoid artificial light and, on the contrary, to be more exposed to the natural daylight.
These new findings didn’t surprise Dr. Jordan Josephson, a sleep specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. According to him, it is a well-known fact that people who work shifts and are exposed to artificial light when it is dark often suffer from fatigue.
“Reduce the exposure to light from TV and computer at night and go out more often during the day. Have breakfast outside and go for a walk in the afternoon,” Dr. Wright said.