Sleep expert calls for Brits to go camping this weekend in a bid to feel the benefits of ‘hunter-gatherer’ sleep ahead of clocks going forward
A sleep expert is calling for Brits to head to the countryside this weekend in a bid to feel the benefits of ‘hunter-gatherer’ style sleep before the clocks go forward.
Unlike in the present day, where electric lighting and technology can often be disruptive to our bedtime routines, our ancestors benefitted from the soothing qualities of the great outdoors before they hit the sack.
Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, sleep expert for bedmaker Silentnight, believes the fresh air and sounds from nature such as rustling trees would have contributed to a deeper sleep, and is calling for Brits to head out into the great outdoors this weekend before the clocks go forward.
Dr Nerina said: “A number of studies have looked into how the natural light-dark cycle affects our internal body clocks, also known as our circadian rhythm.
“Unlike our ancestors we are constantly surrounded by unnatural electronic light, whether it is from light fittings, computer screens, televisions or mobile phones. This constant exposure to artificial light can have an effect on our sleep quality, and often even when we think we are indulging in a long sleep, the truth is our sleep quality is poor, and we still wake up feeling tired.
“Thousands of years ago our ancestors were much more in touch with natural light and the great outdoors, and often hunter-gatherers would sleep in shorter bursts, but because of the fresh air they would sleep more deeply.
“This weekend the clocks go forward and we will lose an hour of sleep on Sunday. The loss of an hour in bed is particularly detrimental to individuals who already struggle with their sleep, and recent research by Silentnight has proved that many Brits, including children, are dangerously sleep deprived.”
In order to benefit from a deeper sleep that leaves Brits feeling energised, Dr Nerina is urging families to consider a camping trip or a simple walk outdoors.
“Modern life is so busy that often we do not take the time to appreciate being outside,” she said. “Just listening to the birds in the trees or the sound of a river and taking in a big gulp of fresh air can do wonders for our physical and mental health and transform our sleep quality.”
Can’t make it camping? Try making these three simple changes to get a good night’s sleep:
Spend your lunch break outside
Exposure to sunlight increases the brain’s release of the happy hormone serotonin and helps to reset the body’s circadian rhythm. Make the time to get outside on your lunch break, even just half an hour will make a real difference to how well you sleep at night.
Ban emails after 7 pm
When we look at our phone or a computer screen our brains mentally respond to the blue light they emit, making it impossible to unwind and prepare for sleep. It might be a tough habit to break but if you’re serious about getting a good night’s sleep log out of your emails at 7 pm and allow your brain to really switch off.
Take an afternoon nap
Just a twenty-minute power nap can make a huge difference if you have sleep to catch up on. Naps have been scientifically proven to boost creativity and problem-solving ability, and they can even rebalance the immune system.
A study published by Silentnight and the University of Leeds in October 2017 revealed the academic development of British children is significantly affected by sleep deprivation.
The findings found that 36 per cent of primary school age children get eight hours or less sleep a night and a worrying 15 per cent get seven hours or less.
A further study published by Silentnight and the University of Leeds revealed that 25 per cent of British adults get less than five hours sleep a night, significantly lower than the recommended eight hours a night.