When you’re out camping in nature, you’re less likely to be on your phone. Without a world of distraction around you, you are more likely to go to sleep earlier. In the world of camping, when the sun goes down, it’s nighttime. In urban, city areas, when the sun goes down, lights turn on, neon signs light up and there’s an entire night life happening. People don’t bring spotlights and neon signs to campsites. Most often, they’re there to see the stars, hangout by lantern or firelight, and be in the nature. Chances are, they’re sleeping better than everyone in the city.
Without anything to stimulate your brain, keep you awake, and tell you to not go to sleep, you fall asleep earlier than later. There’s simply nothing to do other than roast some food, hang out by the fire, or maybe take a night hike. You’ll get more tired earlier because your circadian rhythm is resetting, producing the right amount of melatonin, the brain hormone which tells you it is time to go to sleep, at the right time. With the rising sun, the sounds of animals, and the heat building from the sun’s rays on your tent, you’ll wake up at a bright and early hour of the morning. Having rested so well and gone to sleep so early, despite your crack of dawn wake up call,
Current Biology published a study this year conducted by the University of Colorado Boulder which examined the sleeping difference in people who spent a weekend at home and spent a weekend camping. Just two days of camping made a world of difference. Measuring the levels of melatonin and evaluating people’s internal clocks, researcher Kenneth Wright has found that people experience a circadian rhythm pushback of two hours. A previous study of Wright’s found that winter camping versus winter living in modern cities pushed back the internal clock an extra thirty six minutes. For the two day campers, the shift in their circadian rhythm was immediate.
Camping and spending time in nature has many other psychological and physiological benefits as well starting with the simple act of setting an intention to relax. Building a relationship with the outdoors is part of man’s essence as a human being.
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