Camping – More Than Just A Vacation Option!
Millions of us make camping trips each year, usually as a way of escaping the stresses of daily life and having fun with family and friends. However, camping isn’t just a fabulous way to spend your vacation time. Research has demonstrated that switching your routine and aligning yourself more closely with nature can help you get into the habit of keeping regular, healthier sleeping hours and boost your productivity as a result.
How Camping Helps Improve Your Sleep Pattern
Have you ever noticed that when you camp, you feel more inclined to rise early in the mornings? Camping allows us to get back in touch with the world around us, reset our body clocks and help us face each new day with renewed energy and purpose. Many of us have an unnatural sleep pattern because we expose our bodies to lots of artificial light. As a result, instead of waking up with the sunrise and feeling sleepy as the sun sets, we manipulate our bodies into an artificial sleep schedule that can leave us feeling tired and lethargic in the mornings.
Research published by Kenneth Wright and colleagues in the journal ‘Current Biology’ found that abstaining from artificial light sources for a week helps even those who consider themselves to be ‘night owls’ to get up early in the morning as the sun rises. Volunteers took a camping trip and gave up all exposure to manmade light sources, including torches. This forced them to sleep in accordance with nature’s rhythms, and within days they had begun to wake naturally at sunrise. Just imagine what you could get done and how much more efficient you could become at work if you started to awaken naturally in the early morning!
Rise Early, Be Productive
This research has exciting implications, because studies have shown that rising early in the morning is associated with greater productivity. Jens Bonke from the Rockwool Foundation Research Unit published a paper in the Annals of Economics and Statistics demonstrating that those who find it easier to get up early in the morning or to describe themselves as ‘morning people’ tend to earn more money than those who prefer to get up later. He suggests that because western society is set up to favour, encourage and reward those who work eagerly from the start of the working day rather than wait until the afternoon or evening to pick up momentum, ‘morning people’ enjoy greater overall success, greater productivity and ultimately earn more compared with those who prefer to go to bed late and start their most intense work mid-morning or later.
If you suffer with insomnia, a camping trip free from all artificial light sources could be just what you need in order to get into a healthier sleep-wake cycle. Research by Susan Bolge and colleagues published in the journal ‘Quality of Life Research’ demonstrates that a lack of high-quality sleep significantly impairs not only life satisfaction in general, but on work productivity. Therefore, if you find it difficult to get enough sleep and feel as though your job performance is suffering as a result, try cutting down on artificial light and spend a few days in nature!
The next time you feel the need to take a trip away, consider packing a tent rather than picking out a hotel. Not only is it generally a cheaper option, but you could enjoy the benefits of your vacation long after you return. If you can’t find the time to take a whole week off, a couple of days or a long weekend is still better than nothing and offers you other benefits too such as fresh and the opportunity to relax in a natural setting.
Featured photo credit: Noel Bauza via pixabay.com