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Camping Improves Sleep

February 9, 2017

More time spent outdoors resets circadian rhythms to help us get a full night’s sleep.


Tent under the Milky Way, San Bernardino, Caliofrnia Daniel Peckham CC BY-NC-SA2.0, via flickr, cropped

Tent under the Milky Way, San Bernardino, California. (Daniel Peckham/CC BY-NC-SA-2.0, via flickr, cropped)


Getting outdoors to improve sleep. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Instead of sleeping in on the weekend to catch up on sleep, you might consider camping. This according to new research by University of Colorado Boulder sleep physiologist Kenneth Wright and his colleagues. In the journal Current Biology, they report that even in the dead of winter, campers got 13 times more sunlight than people who remained home. That reset secretions of the sleep hormone melatonin, so they could hit the hay earlier and wake up refreshed.

WRIGHT (Unversity of Colorado Boulder):

The circadian clock which times your sleep, as well as a lot of other rhythms in your body, is designed to adapt to changes— especially changes in the light-dark cycle.


Wright says proper sleep is critical for good health. If camping isn’t an option, he says just getting outdoors and getting sunshine will help, along with avoiding bright lights, TV, and computer screens at night. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the Science Society.

Story by Bob Hirshon