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Camping resets internal clock

After a week in the wild, people went to bed and got up earlier

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12:29pm, August 1, 2013

CAMPING RESETS CLOCK  After a week spent camping (and away from all electric lights) in Colorado, volunteers fell asleep earlier and woke up earlier. Their internal clocks shifted, syncing up with sun, researchers found.

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.

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