If the hot weather has caused a few sleepless nights of late, then you’re not alone! According to Bupa (http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/health-information/directory/i/insomnia), about a third of people in the UK will suffer from insomnia at some point in their lives. Whilst this could be due to the recent heat wave we’ve enjoyed, more often than not, it’s our busy modern lifestyles, which are to blame. However, there is a cure that just so happens to fit in with the upcoming bank holiday… Camping!!!
Nowadays, many of us are holding down demanding jobs while juggling busy social lives and family commitments. To fit everything in, we’re going to bed later than we used to and relying on artificial lighting to extend our day. In addition to this, the smartphones, tablets and laptops that are so important to us can actually be detrimental to a good night’s sleep. According to an article published in the Telegraph last year (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9533249/Using-iPads-before-bed-can-lead-to-a-poor-nights-sleep.html), scientists have found that staring at screens before we go to bed affects our body’s levels of melatonin – the hormone responsible for regulating our body clocks and letting us know when it’s time to sleep.So could a week’s camping holiday be the answer? As strange as it sounds, new research reported by the BBC (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23530408) would suggest that it could be, which is great news for you and me! (As if I needed an excuse to camp!)During an experiment in Colorado, volunteers were taken on a week’s camping trip without any electronic devices or flashlights. Campfires aside, the only light they were exposed to was natural. Sure enough, the volunteers’ body clocks adjusted until they were waking with the sunrise and feeling sleepy as the sun set in the evenings… just as human beings were originally programmed to function!Whilst this might sound nice in theory, in practice I’m sure you thinking its impossible to live in accordance with the sunrise and sunset. However, in the interest of research I thought I’d give it go! So I grabbed a client and off we went to the sunny coast of Aberdaron for the weekend. After wrestling the tent up we arranged our sleeping bag and camping stove and had a jolly restful few days. Highly recommended and how better to kick-start new habits than with a camping trip that reconnects us with our natural state? So go on, give it a try! But if that’s just not possible for you right now then try switching off your electronic devices well before you go to bed. It’s a great way to signal to our bodies that it’s time to sleep.