I read an interesting article last week about how scientists have found that our internal sleep body clock changes for the better when we are camping. Rumour has it (rumour meaning… I am clearly not a scientist and just someone who loves camping and all associated camping research and knowledge) that melatonin helps to control our sleep and wake cycles more consistently and can help us to sleep better when camping. (Melatonin is a hormone made by a small gland situated in the brain called the pineal gland). It stated that we produce varied amounts of melatonin based on external influences like the time of year (ie: season) that we decide our wild adventures should take place, and the length of sunlight during the day for example. Melatonin starts to increase as the sun subsides in the evening and decreases as the sun rises early in the morning. Therefore our melatonin levels usually rise earlier in the darker days of winter and vice versa in the brighter / longer days of summer.
Research has found that our internal body clocks (circadian rhythm/timing) responds more rapidly to mother natures natural light-dark cycle when camping. The theory is that we are messing with and extending or delaying our circadian rhythm/timing by living in modern day environments back home – as you can imagine one of the biggest killers here is using technology late at night (smart phones, computers, tablets etc..) and by the sounds of it… the long term health consequences are not good!
The great news here for all of us – it would appear a simple weekend getaway camping experience with more natural light is enough to reset our circadian timing. Even better music to our ears ‘it’s time to put down modern technology well before bedtime’. After reading the article, I would even recommend we do the same in our busy home lives.
So there you have it, if we want to feel better with a good nights sleep, we all need to go camping more to reset our internal body clocks. “What a tough gig to handle!” With the type of quality we now have in camping mattresses (click here to read a blog I did on camp bedding), there is no excuse for not sleeping due to lack of comfort. I had a brief discussion with my wife Kerri on the subject and she actually said to me “You know what, our two girls always sleep better when we’re camping!” It’s just another bit of research that backs the theory of “Mother Nature… she’s so good for the mind body and soul!”
Jarrod – Camping Guru.
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