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Science Explains How Camping For A Week Can Largely Change Your Productivity

Science Explains How Camping For A Week Can Largely Change Your Productivity

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Additional Benefits

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

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Jay Hill

Jay writes about communication and happiness on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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