After a week in the wild, people went to bed and got up earlier
Courtesy of K. Wright Jr.
A short camping trip could help people rise and shine.
After a week living in tents in Colorado’s Rockies, volunteers’ internal clocks shifted about two hours earlier, transforming night owls into early birds, researchers report August 1 in Current Biology.
“It’s a clever study, and it makes a dramatic point,” says Katherine Sharkey, a sleep researcher and physician at Brown University. People get much more light outside than they do indoors, and that can reset their internal clocks, she says.
A master clock in the brain controls the release of melatonin, a hormone that prepares the body for sleep. Melatonin levels rise in the early evening and then taper off in the morning before a person wakes up.