Here's The Unexpected Secret To A Good Night's Sleep

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux.
There isn't much we won't do for more sleep, but the latest research is suggesting something pretty unexpected. A study found that people who spent a weekend camping in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado fell asleep around two and a half hours earlier than they normally did at home, reaching close to ten hours of sleep a night.

The reasoning for this is pretty simple, and it's something we've heard over and over again: technology. Living in the modern world means constant exposure to not just artificial light, but also our phones. When five colleagues aged 21 to 39 went on a six-day camping trip, they left all their gadgets behind. Instead, their days were dictated by sunlight (or lack thereof), and the light of their fires. Turns out, this totally fixed their internal clocks.

"Our modern environment has really changed the timing of our internal clocks, but also the timing of when we sleep relative to our clock," Kenneth Wright, lead contact of the study and director of the sleep and chronobiology lab at the University of Colorado in Boulder, told The Guardian. "A weekend camping trip can reset the clock rapidly."

There were other benefits, as well. Monitors found that the campers were more active during the days and exposed to light levels thirteen times higher than they were at home. Plus, the perks of this new sleep cycle followed them back home, with their bodies continuing to prepare themselves for sleep two and a half hours earlier.

Wright replicated the study in the summer, with a few tweaks, and found similar results.

But if you're not an outdoorsy person, you don't need to force yourself camping in order to get extra shut-eye.

"We know we don’t have to go camping to achieve these benefits," Wright told The Guardian. "If our goal is to have people sleeping at reasonable times so they’re not asleep at work and school, there are things we can do in our daily lives. We would recommend getting more natural sunlight, and that could be starting the day with a walk outside, or bringing more light indoors if you can, or sitting by a window. As important, though, is to dim the lights at night."

Now, it's time for a nap.
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