Feeling Groggy? Go Camping (for a Week)

A week outdoors can reset your sleeping patterns: study
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 2, 2013 2:06 PM CDT
Feeling Groggy? Go Camping (for a Week)

Artificial light—and reduced access to sunlight—has put our biological clocks in need of fresh batteries. A new study explains that our fondness for an electric glow has messed with our sleep hormones, making us stay up later than evolution intended in exchange for a lack of alertness in the morning, the BBC reports. But don't fret—pitch a tent. A week-long camping trip can expose you to 400% more sunlight than normal, helping to reset melatonin levels—the hormone that makes you sleepy—the study in Current Biology suggests.

While melatonin levels should naturally rise in the early evening and wane in the morning, artificial light makes them peak later and last longer—that's why you may feel groggy when you wake up, Science News reports. But after a week under the stars—electronic devices and flashlights not permitted—eight individuals found their levels coordinating with the rising and setting sun. Like a roof over your head but want the same results? Replace a light bulb with an open window, and go outside more often. Even the dim light of a cell phone can mess with your internal clock, says the study's lead researcher. (Read more scientific study stories.)

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