Sleep schedule off kilter? Camping might help

Yet another reason to spend time in nature.

new research study from the University of Colorado demonstrates that earlier circadian timing can be rapidly achieved through natural light exposure during a weekend spent camping.

“Camping,” you might exclaim. “It’s too cold to go camping in the winter! And in the summer, I’m so busy with work and family. Maybe I could go camping once or twice, but certainly not on a regular basis!”

That is a reasonable argument in our “always-on” modern society.  So how to reduce exposure to the modern electrical lighting environment without spending every weekend searching for firewood and avoiding poison ivy?

One could move to a house in the woods, yet few of us have that option. To me, it seems like aligning our bedtimes with the natural light-dark cycle is most important. That implies no television, computer, IPhones, etc after dinner, which would be challenging for many people.

Yet that is the direction we should take, to achieve sustainable improvements in our health.

Incidentally, I learned about this research from Megan Scudellari’s fine article in the Boston Globe. We should support our science writers (disclaimer: one of my best friends, Gabriel Popkin, is also a science writer). 

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Sleep and Chronobiology Laboratory at the University of Colorado-Boulder, led by Dr. Kenneth P. Wright Jr.

 

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