August 5, 2013
Camping Can Cure The Night Owl
For the last twenty or so years now, I have averaged four to six hours sleep a night, the former being more accurate than the latter. I enjoy being a night owl for the most part. I love working through the night while having a movie playing in the background, taking comfort in the fact that I won’t be interrupted by a bunch of texts, phone calls, or emails. However, falling asleep at six in the morning, and waking up at noon is beginning to wear on me. I work for myself, but a lot of people that I do business with start their day in the morning, you know…like most adults; and I feel I miss important hours of business because of this.
So, for once in my life I’m trying to sleep a like an actual adult; well, a little more like an adult, at least. I can’t imagine falling asleep before three in the morning, but if I can fall asleep at three, and wakeup at nine, then that in itself is a victory.
Although I am not diagnosed with being hyperactive, I have an insane amount of energy. So getting more than four to six hours of sleep is not my goal, waking up in the morning is. I have tried accomplishing my sleep goals a few different ways to no avail. But then I did something unbeknownst to me that would help me gain a more normal sleep cycle, I went camping; well, sort of. I am not into sleeping bags and tents as already when I wake up my back is reminded everyday that I used to be a professional wrestler; sleeping outside only adds to that painful scenario. I also hate mosquitoes; who doesn’t I suppose, but the bites I scratch outweigh the fun I may have by a campfire, unless a female is involved; in that scenario by all means bring on the bug bites. But I did take a getaway to a cabin with a group of friends, and I actually woke up easier, went to bed earlier, and enjoyed more of the daylight hours because of this.
When I returned home, I realized that it was easier to fall asleep earlier, even at one or two in the morning, and wake up earlier, around six or seven in the morning. So, I started researching this and sure enough, studies have been done recently on camping and the internal clock. Brown University did a research that shows that the more natural light one receives, as opposed to office lighting, the more their internal clocks will reset. That paired with the fact that at nighttime on a camping trip there are no flashy lights, loud music (although we had loud music), or technology (in my case music was the only technology) to get the endorphins flowing.
Our internal clock is in control of the release of our melatonin and our brain is based on patterns; so essentially the brain is trained on when to release this melatonin. For me, it seems around five or six in the morning was the norm, now its several hours earlier simply because I took a few days to enjoy nature with some friends and unplug from the matrix that I normally love being plugged into. So if your sleep schedule is out of whack, a good camping trip may be the cure. Just remember to bring lots of repellent, mosquito bites suck. Remember folks; be nice to one another out there. One person can make a difference in someone’s life.
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