Is camping the way to improve our sleeping habits?

Following research at an American University, evidence has come forward to suggest that spending a weekend camping in the great outdoors will have a positive influence on our ability to sleep better, as well as help those who struggle to get up in the mornings.

The reason being appears to stem from our natural body clock, which helps to regulate our ¬†physical strength, mood, alertness, and when we feel tired, along with many other things. Scientists believe that the level of light helps our body clock to ‘keep time’ as it were, allowing it to anticipate when we may start to feel tired, and preparing our body for sleep in the evening, and vice versa in the morning. However, given that our lives not only revolve around, but have now become nearly dependant on technology, artificial light appears to be interfering with and altering the way we sleep. This is more noticeable in younger generations, and in teenagers especially, who now spend on average up to two hours a night after getting into bed on smartphones or laptops, meaning they are still wide awake long after their circadian clock says they should be asleep.

Not only does this offer one explanation for why some teenagers are so inexplicably tired throughout the day, and struggle so much to get out of bed in the morning, but also provides a suggestion as to why there are increasing cases of type 2 diabetes in younger patients and more issues with obesity (however this is almost certainly not the primary cause – easy and cheap access to sugary and fat filled food is the chief suspect).

Abandoning technology and modern life regularly for a weekend out in the countryside appears to be a great way to combat this struggle, as it would expose our bodies to more natural light in the day time, and less light at night, helping to reset our circadian clocks, providing us with a boost of energy and an apparent ease in getting out of bed in the morning. Despite this however, researchers added that this would not offer a permanent solution, and more drastic changes need to occur if people want to see a true and lasting improvement in their sleeping habits – examples of this include minimising our use of technology, but with modern life as it is, this may not be possible.

A study conducted in 2014, credited to scientists from Oxford University, suggested that people nowadays sleep between one and two hours a night less on average than people did sixty years ago. It was argued that this was potentially the result of human arrogance combined with the effect of technology on our sleeping patterns – humans believing that they could overcome our natural body clock, casting aside 4 billion years worth of evolution, in order to feed their addiction to phones and social media. Yet despite this, society continues to flourish, and we are living life at its easiest, so is sleep deprivation really causing us a problem? Or are we just more aware of the negatives than the positives?

Thanks for reading!

 

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