Have you heard medical professionals, friends, or family members advising you not to watch too much TV or not to stay on the computer for too long, especially before bedtime? Many of us may have heard how these kinds of practices may disturb our sleeping patterns, but an article from BBC News discusses a study about how camping can help reset our body clocks and sleeping patterns (McGrath, 2013).
Those who spend a lot of time using electronics, particularly those that emit artificial light, are more likely to have a disrupted sleep pattern (Wright, McHill, Birks, Griffin, Rusterholz & Chinoy, 2013). The study was conducted in Colorado and had the participants camp outdoors for one week. The participants were not allowed to use any electronics, and their only source of light was from the campfire. What the study showed was all the participants adjusted their sleeping patterns to the sunrise and sunset, which is what dictates our internal circadian rhythm for sleeping.
Professor Wright of the University of Colorado states the results of this study shows the beneficial effects of sunlight, particularly with heavy electronic users or those with sleeping problems. He suggests taking a walk first thing in the morning and dimming electronics at night to help you sleep earlier.
But for those who find it hard to give up using their electronics at night, you can download the f.lux app, which adjusts your screens brightness as well as color according to the time of day. Available for your computer, iPhone, or iPad, f.lux simulates intensity and hue of outdoor lighting to avoid the harsh glare that electronics tend to have at night. The app is available at their website:
McGrath, M. (2013, August 1). Carry on camping – can a week under canvas reset our body clocks?. BBC News. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23530408
Wright, K., McHill, A., Birks, B., Griffin, B., Rusterholz, T., & Chinoy, E. (2013, August 1). Entrainment of the Human Circadian Clock to the Natural Light-Dark Cycle. Current Biology. Retrieved August 2, 2013, from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982213007641