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HHS HealthBeat (August 23, 2013)

Sleeping natural

From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

Early to bed, early to rise? More likely the opposite in our electrified world. But one small study indicates a way to reset our internal clocks to natural – camping.

At the University of Colorado Boulder, researchers took eight healthy young adults backcountry camping for a week in the Rockies, where they had no light at night other than a campfire. Before camping, they typically slept around 8 hours, starting after midnight:

Researcher Ken Wright:

“They obtained the same amount of sleep while camping, although it was timed a little more than an hour earlier – so bedtimes were earlier and wake times were earlier.”

If you can’t go camping, Wright suggests more morning sun and less evening electric light might also reset your body clock.

The study in the journal Current Biology was supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

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Last revised: August 23, 2013