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We are more dependent on light than one think in everyday life. There is a circadian rhythm in the body that is controlled by light. A rhythm that affects down to the cell level and is easily disturbed when daylight intake becomes too small. Research has shown that, among other things, sleep disorders can be reduced by camping and allowing the body to adapt to natural light and darkness.

Sleep researchers from Sweden and the US let people with sleep disorders camp completely without artificial light for a while. Already after a couple of days, the body had adapted to the biological circadian rhythm that is controlled by daylight. Sunlight contributes to the cortisol level in the body rising during the morning and decreasing later in the day. The content of the hormone melatonin, which causes feelings of fatigue, increases when daylight decreases and is at its highest at night. These hormones control how the cells in the body function and we feel good when they function as intended.

In today's society with light, sound, noise and constant connection, we are influenced by the environment in more ways than we can imagine. Many have not understood that the body's cells feel worse and do not function optimally when we are exposed to and expose ourselves to the blue and white light that the body interprets as daylight. Our bodies still function as when humans lived in caves, hunting and gathering their food every day and protecting themselves from wildlife. Our cells are still programmed to function according to a circadian rhythm outdoors and with daylight as the light source.

What the researchers managed to see is that the people who participated in the sleep study and camped without artificial light, were morning people when they returned to their everyday lives. They had adjusted to a life that follows the light of day. The advice from John Axelsson, professor of sleep science at Stockholm University, is that if you have difficulty falling asleep in the evening, you should be out for at least an hour in the morning and if you wake up late at night to not be able to fall asleep again, you should be out in the afternoon and the evening. Or camp without artificial light for a while to give the body a chance to adjust.

Circadian rhythm Tentipi light by fire sleep well blogLena Bjelfman dog fire light evening camping blog Tentipi

But how does it really work for modern people?

We, who live far from the equator and have varied lengths of days and nights, are more affected by daylight or the absence of daylight than those who live where day and night are about the same length. Man has not changed at the cellular level, to live with this change, but needs to take all the tricks one can find to counteract depression and unwanted effects of more or less light than we can actually handle.

dog sled snow Lena Bjelfman Tentipi light sun blogOne piece of advice is to be outside during the bright part of the day, preferably during the first hours when you wake up. You feel good to be out as much as possible, but need at least an hour, according to the researchers.

During the winter, the National Health Service recommends that we eat a supplement of vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight and the vitamin participates in the process of absorbing calcium from food. The skeleton and the immune system are negatively affected when the vitamin D levels is too low.

Tentipi encourages everyone who can, to be out camping to take advantage of the natural light and when darkness falls be together around the fire in the middle of the tent. The caveman in us slows down and enjoys sitting and talking, listening and telling stories around the warm and safe fire. The body calms down, the melatonin levels rise and when the fatigue comes, it is cosy to lie and watch the last embers burn out, listen to the sounds of nature and look forward to a good night's sleep. It often takes a couple of days and nights for the body to get used to sleeping in a tent, so do not give up after the first attempt.

Lena Bjelfman, who is responsible for finances and production at Tentipi and lives in Moskosel in Lapland in the north of Sweden, knows what it is like to live with short days during the winter.

– Despite the darkness, you can drive a dog sled without a headlamp when there is snow and moonlight. It is important to take advantage of what can be done and try to keep away the thoughts of what is not possible.

– And we need to eat vitamins D because we do not get enough sunlight during the winter, Lena says.

Moon dog sled Lena Bjelfman sky light blogLena Bjelfman Tentipi sled dogs night dark light blog snow

Thank you, Lena Bjelfman, for the images.

 
 

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