Camping really is good for the soul. Research done this year has shown that getting out and away from modern day life can have an important impact on us. Many of us know that camping has a reviving and rejuvenating quality. New research backs up these ideas with camping science!
A recent study was conducted in Colorado by the University of Colorado in Boulder suggesting that our bodies quickly adjust their circadian rhythms (body clock) when camping. The research was done with a test group of volunteer campers over a week and their findings backed up what many have already believed—that camping can reset a person and truly get them “back to nature”, or at least a human being’s natural circadian rhythm.
It really shouldn’t come as a surprise, but the modern day life of humans can easily disrupt our natural wake and rest cycles. Researchers have known for some time that light can change our internal clocks. However, this camping experiment took it a step further. The researchers did not allow anything other than natural light. Having no artificial light seemed to help the process along. The researchers monitored melatonin levels in the participants to determine the circadian rhythms and found they adjusted quite quickly when the body was exposed to only natural light. Sleeping outdoors camping you become a slave to the sun as it becomes quite bright in a tent when the sun rises. Because the sun came up earlier than most of the participants’ regular waking time and went down well before most usually went to bed, their melatonin levels quickly shifted throughout the day to match the natural cycle of things.
So when you are thinking modern day life in the city is getting to you, and feel like you need to get away and go camping, it may be more than an excuse! Camping appears to actually reset your body and bring you back to your natural rhythm. Not only is it fun, it can be quite healthy for you! Just remember, to make the most out of your camping time, limit or eliminate all artificial light to get yourself back to your natural order. Don’t worry, you can still have a campfire!