Washington: Good news for people facing sleep problems as a new study says that spending a weekend out camping can reset your circadian rhythm that may help you fall asleep faster, boost performance at work and quell seasonal depression.
The findings, published in journal of Current Biology, indicate that after filling the day with natural light and the night with true darkness for a weekend increases a hormone – melatonin – which promotes sleep and physiologically prepares the body for nighttime nearly two hours earlier.
“These studies suggest that our internal clock responds strongly and quite rapidly to the natural light-dark cycle,” said lead author Kenneth Wright from University Of Colorado at Boulder in the U.S.
“Living in our modern environments can significantly delay our circadian timing and late circadian timing is associated with many health consequences. But as little as a weekend camping trip can reset it,” Wright added.
The team conducted two new studies.
In the first, they recruited 14 volunteers: nine went camping in the Colorado mountains for a summer weekend; five stayed home.
When the campers returned after just two days and had their saliva tested, their melatonin rise had shifted 1.4 hours earlier.
“Weekend exposure to natural light was sufficient to achieve 69 percent of the shift in circadian timing. We previously reported after a week’s exposure to natural light,” Wright stated.
For the second study, five volunteers went camping for one week near the time of the winter solstice and returned to the lab to have their melatonin tested hourly for 24 hours. The results indicated that they had been exposed to a whopping 13 times as much light by day as in their typical weekday environment during winter. While camping, they went to bed earlier and slept longer.
Upon return, their melatonin levels began to rise 2.6 hours earlier.
When light hits photoreceptors in the eye, it alters the master clock, which then signals a cascade of events that impact rhythms in our body, influencing not only when we sleep and rise, but also the timing of hormone releases that impact appetite, metabolism and more.(ANI)