Want to Have Longer Sleeping Hours? Go Camping, Forget Sleeping Pills

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Feb 04, 2017 11:53 AM EST

Restless night and troubled sleep find an answer in camping on weekends, a new study reveals startling truths. Forget about sleeping pills and comfortable beds, plan a two-day camping trip and enjoy staying in the open away from city life.

A new study published on Feb. 2 in the journal Current Biology says that people fall asleep earlier after staying away from the city lights and noises. Lights play an important role in setting the body clock for sleeping. But the electric light disrupts the human body clock because of excessive exposure to light and disturbed schedule of nature set by sunset and sunrise.

The findings show "that a weekend camping trip can reset our [biological] clock rapidly," senior study author Kenneth Wright, an assistant professor in the department of kinesiology and applied physiology at the University of Colorado Boulder, said in a statement. This means that staying away from modern night-lights helps the biological clock to sync and met the natural rhythms of day and night.

The study included two experiments: one in summer and one in winter. The winter experiment was conducted on five people who were sent to Colorado in December but their melatonin levels mean sleep hormone levels, were measured before the journey and after the journey ended five days later. The sleep hormones level rose after spending 6 days camping, reports Live Science.

The change was so significant that people start going to bed and falling asleep 2.5 hours earlier than those nights they spent at home in the city. The total time all five people slept was 2.3 hours longer, too, the researchers report.

Apart from increasing sleep hormone, camping has other magnificent effects on health like breathing clean air, socializing, relieving stress, experiencing new tastes and exercising. Just don't forget to commit to the experience if your cell phone's off, you're on your way to developing a stimulating, tranquil hobby that will keep you healthy for years to come, according to Eureka.

The second experiment was conducted in summer when daylight hours are longer. In this experiment, 14 people participated and they were allowed to use headlights or flashlights only. Their sleep hormone did not raise much when they were measured before and after the camping period. This is because they spent more time exposed to light.

The rise in melatonin levels helped the campers throughout the week at home to experience some increase in sleeping hours. The researchers maintain that camping is a good idea to increase sleep hours and those who cannot go camping can increase their sleep hormone by decreasing their exposure to electric lights at night.

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