More and more scientists argue that modern life disturbs the way we sleep because of our exposure to electric light and a reduced access to sunlight.

In the past, humans went to bed after sunset and woke up early in the morning as the sun rose. The soft light coming from the candles and oil lamps wasn’t bright enough to disrupt people’s sleep.

Our sleeping habits truly changed with Thomas Edison and the creation of the incandescent light bulbs.

A recent study from Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder shows that living by the sun’s schedule would make you more likely to go to bed and wake up an hour earlier and would erase your morning grogginess. In fact, the sun adjusts your internal clock to its natural state, eliminating the influence of light bulbs.

The research has been published in the journal Current Biology and has found that the bodies of eight volunteers synchronised with sunrise and sunset after a week of camping. The subjects lived more normal lives. Psychologist Kenneth Wright said "We weren’t studying people who had sleep difficulties, the amount of sleep they got did not change. What changed was the timing of their sleep and the timing of their [internal] clock relative to when they slept."

Sleep and light were measured daily, and the melatonin every hour across 24 hours after a week of camping. Scientists use melatonin, the « hormone of darkness », to measure photoperiods. "It rises at night naturally, and falls during the day, suppressed by light," said Namni Goel, a psychologist and sleep researcher at the Univ. of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

The subjects went camping in the Rockies and only had sunshine during the day and campfire at night, excluding all kind of artificial lighting. When researchers measured the subject’s melatonin after a week of camping, they found out that the onset of melatonin shifted two hours earlier and the subject’s sleep shifted more than an hour earlier. The melatonin level and the sun cycle were more aligned, and they were feeling less tired when waking up in the morning.

So If you’re still wondering what to do before the end of the summer holidays, you could go camping for a week into the wild and reset your internal clock !