Most people go to sleep later in the evening, thinking they could spare another 30 minutes of extra rest in the morning. It works just fine the first time they do it, and then the second, and the third, and so forth. However, pushing the sleep cycle further back with each day can have negative consequences on one’s health, say researchers. When biological clocks that regulate the people’s sleep cycles get all jumbled up, there is a way of going back to normal: camping.
According to a new study, published on Thursday, February 2nd in the journal Current Biology, camping for a week or even a weekend, given the fact some people do not afford too much time off work, has the power of resetting one’s natural sleep cycle.
University of Colorado’s professor of integrative physiology, Kenneth Wright recommends those who have fallen behind with their natural sleep cycle to renounce all electronics, go into the woods, and spend several days sleeping under the stars to improve their overall health.
The new study’s findings, however, are based on prior research into the matter published in a 2013 edition of the journal Current Biology. In order to further validate past discoveries, the researchers sent four people camping for a week and monitored their melatonin levels from before and after the trip was completed.
Melatonin is a hormone in charge of regulating sleep and wakefulness. Before the subjects ventured into the wild, the scientists looked at the melatonin levels and made an interesting observation. The levels of the hormone present in the subjects’ bodies upon waking up indicated the brain was sending signals to go back to sleep only a couple hours later. Hence, the participants’ biological clocks were constantly lagging, falling behind what physicians consider a regulated sleep cycle.
However, upon completing the week-long trip, the subjects’ biological clocks were not only fully reset, but the whole sleep schedule shifted earlier, allowing them to go to bed a couple of hours earlier and waking feeling more rested than they were used to before camping.
Then there were those who participated in the study over the course of a single weekend. Even though not as great as those who undertook camping for an entire week, the results showed their biological clocks shifted the sleep schedule at least one hour earlier.
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