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Camping Helps Set Circadian Clocks Straight 173

Posted by samzenpus
from the nature-time dept.
cold fjord writes "Counsel & Heal reports, 'Many people are stuck in the vicious cycle of late nights and late mornings. However, a new study reveals that a week of camping in the great outdoors may help people set their clocks straight. A new study, published in the journal Current Biology, reveals that if given a chance, our body's internal biological clocks will tightly synchronize to a natural, midsummer light-dark cycle. The study found that a week of exposure to true dawn and dusk with no artificial lights had a significant effect on people who might otherwise describe themselves as night owls. Researchers found that under those conditions, night owls quickly become early birds. "By increasing our exposure to sunlight and reducing our exposure to electrical lighting at night, we can turn our internal clock and sleep times back and likely make it easier to awaken and be alert in the morning," Kenneth Wright of the University of Colorado Boulder said in a news release.'"
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Camping Helps Set Circadian Clocks Straight

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  • Surprise (Score:5, Interesting)

    by buchner.johannes (1139593) on Friday August 02, 2013 @03:20AM (#44454253) Homepage Journal

    Anyone who has been camping should have experienced this. It's really nice to be in sync with the day again, makes one happy. With computers (blue lights destroys Melatonin and thus makes you less sleepy), days last longer and longer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 02, 2013 @03:32AM (#44454301)

    There is certainly some merit to this research. However, be careful where you go camping. After my recent two-week camping trip to Iceland, my internal clocks are set to this insane there-is-no-night-and-your-are-never-gonna-sleep-again mode. It's been two weeks since I got back and still can't get enough sleep.

  • by vikingpower (768921) <> on Friday August 02, 2013 @03:37AM (#44454327) Homepage Journal
    When hiking through Europe ( I once walked from Amsterdam to Rome ), it was the same for me: as long as I slept outside, in a tent, I would wake up with sunrise and get sleepy shortly after sunset. As soon as I would begin sleeping in hotels, monasteries etc. etc., I would turn into a night-owl again...
  • by c (8461) <> on Friday August 02, 2013 @06:33AM (#44454809)

    Get several cats. Vocal ones, like Siamese, work best.

    Feed them once a day, in the morning.

    In about six months, you'll be getting up at 5am to feed them.

    Dogs can be effective as well, depending on the breed and age. A young lab or border collie is good. An older hound, not so much.

  • by zmooc (33175) <{zmooc} {at} {}> on Friday August 02, 2013 @07:00AM (#44454867) Homepage

    Your sleep in headache may very well be related to mild dehydration. You'd probably do better if you drank a tad more before going to sleep.

  • by Yaotzin (827566) on Friday August 02, 2013 @08:07AM (#44455105)

    I usually hike through Swedish Lapland once a year in summer. Even though night is like 2-3 hours, it does feel like it's easier to rise earlier in the morning when I get back. Although it only lasts for like a week or maybe two.

  • Re:Surprise (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CensorshipDonkey (1108755) on Friday August 02, 2013 @08:14AM (#44455143)
    I want to second f.lux. This program is AWESOME. During the day it reduces eye strain from 6-8 hrs of monitor use by just softening the display, and at night I find it a lot easier to fall asleep after exposure to the warm tint and suppressed blues.
  • by shuz (706678) on Friday August 02, 2013 @09:59AM (#44455887) Homepage Journal

    I find that even without light, sound and temp also helps regulate sleep. In the spring/summer/fall when nights are 50-68F (10-20c) I open windows at night. I find that both the coolness of the morning combined with birds chirping, and to a lesser extent people leaving for work constantly, help me to feel more alert when waking up regardless of when I went to sleep.

    That said with out any kind of alarm and in a controlled environment with zero stimuli, I'll sleep almost exactly 8 hours.

  • by Supp0rtLinux (594509) <> on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:02AM (#44455917)
    I've used 2-3 day backpacking trips to reset my clock for years. Typically, after moving for 10-15 miles in a day under the sun with 25-50lbs on my pack and then making camp, I'm ready for bed at sundown anyway. I actually have to force myself to stay up til 9 or 10pm. For the last few years, though, I've used this to reset my kids summer schedules. Typically by mid-August they're going to bed at 2-3am and getting up around 12-1pm each day. So the last week of summer for the last 3 years we've gone camping. Nothing special no grueling backpacking trips. Just camping at a campsite with tents and a fire and day hikes, etc. After a week of this they're on a sun-up to sun-down sleep schedule and ready for the new school year.

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