South Asian Insider
Weekend of camping promotes earlier sleep patterns
New research, published in the journal Current Biology, concludes that regardless of the season, spending time outdoors in the natural light - while camping, for example - is enough to reset our internal clocks and enable us to get to sleep earlier.
"Late circadian and sleep timing in modern society are associated with negative performance and health outcomes such as morning sleepiness and accidents, reduced work productivity and school performance, substance abuse, mood disorders, diabetes, and obesity," says Kenneth Wright at the University of Colorado Boulder.
"Our findings demonstrate that living in our modern environments contributes to late circadian timing regardless of season and that a weekend camping trip can reset our clock rapidly," he adds.
Previous studies by Wright and collaborators showed that daily exposure to electrical lighting at the flick of a switch causes a shift in the internal clock, which results in a delay of around 2 hours and, subsequently, a later bedtime. The team backed up this finding with evidence that shows a shift in the normal fluctuations of melatonin, a hormone responsible for the regulation of the circadian rhythm.
The researchers found that the shift was remedied by a week spent in the summer sun. The internal clock shifted back, which caused people to go to bed earlier, with no change in how long they slept.
Internal clock's response to seasonal changes, reset speed explored
While exposure to summer sunlight "fixed" the internal body clock, questions remained. The team wondered how the internal clock would respond to seasonal changes if summer were replaced with winter in the study. They also wondered how quickly the internal clock could be reset in the summer setting - did participants need to be outside for a full week, or could the internal clock be changed more rapidly?
To find the answers, Wright and colleagues conducted two studies. The first assessed the impact of the winter natural light-dark cycle on the internal clock compared with electrical lighting. The second evaluated whether the internal clock could be changed over a weekend of exposure to the summer natural light-dark cycle.
The first study involved sending a group of five active individuals camping for a week in Colorado during winter. The researchers timed the study so that the participants went around the time of the winter solstice - when the days were shortest.
The participants were not allowed cell phones or flashlights so that their sleep and hormone rhythms could be examined without the interference of technology that emits artificial light. The results were compared with those taken after the participants spent a week in their modern electrical lighting environment.
After analysis, the team revealed that modern lifestyles reduce light exposure in the winter by 13 times. Spending more time outdoors caused the study participants to go to bed earlier. In a similar way to the results of the previous research, the internal clock and rising of melatonin levels shifted earlier by more than 2.5 hours.
Exposure to a weekend of natural light reset internal clock
The second study explored whether a weekend of camping in the summer was enough to shift the internal clock.
A total of 14 individuals were split into two groups. Nine of the participants went camping in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado for a weekend, but this time they were allowed flashlights and headlamps, and five of the participants spent the weekend in a modern environment with electrical lighting.
A weekend of camping was, as expected, enough to shift the internal clock. Being exposed to the natural light-dark cycle prevented typical weekend patterns of staying up late and sleeping in, and it stopped the individual's internal clocks from being shifted later.
Although modern conveniences can leave us out of sync with our internal clocks, the research shows that there is an easy solution: light exposure. A weekend of camping could be just the remedy for someone in need of an early night.
Wright points out that consistency is the key. He says that to stay on track with sleeping patterns, a regular schedule is crucial. Among other solutions, Wright suggests that "increasing daytime exposure to sunlight and reducing nighttime exposure to electrical lighting" may help.
Two stars fight, and the image is stunning
Stars that have companions aren't always friendly to them, as evidenced by a stellar confrontation witnessed by astronomers. They studied the binary ...
Sex workers finally get 'honourable' funerals in Bangladesh
(News Agencies)-Often treated as less than human in life, there has been little dignity in death for the sex workers of one of the world's biggest b...
In tears again, victim's mother pleads for death warrant for 4 convicts
Demanding fresh death warrant, Asha Devi said, "I am here from one and half years, I am here and waiting for them to avail their legal remedies. Howev...
Delhi Police arrests 10 students in Gargi college molestation case
A case was registered against the ten accused under sections 452, 354, 509, 34 of the IPC at Hauz Khas Police Station. (News Agencies)-The Delhi ...
In AAP's victory, a lesson in transformative politics
The extraordinary political process that Delhi has witnessed this past month represents at once the maturing of the electorate within this "ordinary c...
How the AAP won, with some help from the BJP
Despite a patchy track record, the AAP captured the narrative. The Delhi BJP?had nothing to offer voters Delhi's outsized influence on the nationa...
Jammu and Kashmir: Detention is not the answer
Booking the former chief ministers under PSA is counterproductive The decision to book former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) chief ministers Omar Abdulla...
Politics is shifting to the centre-right. Delhi proves it
Endorsing the religious practices of the majority, a strong nationalist pitch and populist welfarism is the new normal. Delhi is a riddle wrapped ...
Arvind Kejriwal appointed Delhi CM, 6 ministers to take oath
The 6 ministers who will take oath along with Arvind Kejriwal on 16 Feb are Manish Sisodia, Satyender Jain, Gopal Rai, Kailash Gehlot, Imran Hussain a...
Trump administration goes to war with states over Immigration
The Justice Department sues California and New Jersey to overcome enforcement roadblocks. The Trump administration dramatically escalated its war ...
© All rights Reserved. The south Asian, Published Weekly from New york.