Reset your sleep… this weekend!
Trouble sleeping? Don't go looking for the answer at your local CVS.
Try the KOA instead!
A trip to your local campground could be the best way to reset your body's clock -- and the latest research shows how a simple camping trip can get your sleep schedule back on track.
The study -- done in winter -- found that over a week of winter camping, volunteers began to fall asleep a full 2.5 hours earlier than they did at home.
The researchers did a similar study in the summer with similar results -- except, in winter, the folks not only went to sleep earlier.
They stayed asleep longer.
The reason is simple: Our bodies were designed to recognize night and day -- and the way they know the difference is the rise and fall of the sun.
As the sun goes down, our bodies start to crank out the "sleep hormone," melatonin.
But these days, that whole process is thrown off by the fact that we're indoors and under lights all day and well into the night.
Even worse, the lights of LED screens such as those used in electronics are heavy in the blue end of the spectrum, the color our body recognizes as daylight.
Some people never produce the right levels of melatonin at the right time.
The results are all around you: Sleep disorders are one of the most common health problems facing the nation, in nearly every age group.
In the new study -- and the old one -- the researchers found that as folks spent more time outside on those camping trips, they began to naturally produce more melatonin.
While the studies each lasted a week, the researchers found in their earlier work that even a weekend in the great outdoors will help to reset your internal body clock and kick off melatonin production.
Of course, not many people can take off for the woods for a full week or even a weekend; and some folks just don't want to go camping (especially in winter).
That's OK. Camping's nice... but it's not a requirement.
Just spend more time outside, especially in the afternoon and evening, and have a "lights off" time indoors at night and your body will start to recognize when it's time to sleep (just don't cheat with those electronic devices).
If you need a little more help, melatonin supplements are inexpensive and widely available. Use a sublingual form if you need help falling asleep faster, or the time-released version if you find you're waking up in the middle of the night.