Spending Time Outdoors May Result In Better Sleep
Spending time in the outdoors may improve your sleep, a small study suggests.
Researchers found that a week of winter camping reset the body’s “clock” to be more in tune with nature’s light-and-dark cycle. The result was longer sleep.
The findings, the study authors said, add to evidence that time in the sun and the dark helps people get to sleep at a decent hour. The study also highlights how modern living may thwart our sleep.
In a 2013 study, Wright’s team found that a week of summer camping — with no smartphones — reset people’s internal clocks to be in rhythm with nature’s.
Saliva samples showed that levels of the “sleep hormone” melatonin shifted compared with a typical week at home. Melatonin levels started to rise around sunset, and the campers’ “biological night” kicked in about two hours earlier. Accordingly, the campers turned in much earlier than their usual midnight bedtime at home. They also woke up earlier, closer to sunrise.
For the new study, published Feb. 2 in Current Biology, Wright’s team recruited five hardy volunteers for a week of December camping in the Colorado Rockies. Again, the researchers used saliva samples to detect shifts in campers’ melatonin levels, versus a week at home.
All of this results in the conclusion that spending (even if just from time to time) some time outdoors will help you sleep better.