June is one of the sweetest summer months with long days loaded with endless sunlight, and cool nights where fireflies pop in the darkness. It’s no wonder that people are tempted to sleep outdoors in the summer to take advantage of this prime season. But at times, sleeping outdoors can disrupt your sleep patterns, leaving you not as well rested as you’d like.
Don’t let your quality of sleep suffer – you can get good rest in the outdoors and here’s how.
Benefits of Sleeping Outdoors
Nature has restorative effects. Studies published in Science Direct show a link between being outdoors and vitality. Being outdoors was associated with greater vitality due to the presence of natural elements, such as fresh air, sunshine, flora and fauna. Being outdoors is a feeling that cannot be replicated.
Additionally, when it comes to sleeping outdoors, studies show it can help regulate your internal clock. One study, discussed in Time Magazine, compared the effects of sleeping in a modern indoor environment and sleeping in nature. Those who slept in a modern environment had a two-hour delay in their internal clocks, meaning they went to bed two hours later than their body was telling them. The people that slept outdoors were able to sleep when their bodies’ internal clocks told them to.
Many people know that lack of sleep isn’t a good thing. The study described in Time Magazine states, “an out-of-whack sleep cycle has been linked to health problems like sleepiness, mood problems and a higher risk of being overweight.” If sleeping outdoors can re-regulate your internal clock, then that alone would be good reason to experiment with it.
However, being one with nature can come with a price. The question is, are you willing to pay it to achieve a good night’s rest? Here are some outdoor elements to consider and plan to manage.
Managing Outdoor Elements
Most people are accustomed to sleeping indoors. They’re used to their air conditioning, mountain of pillows, a bed frame with a comfortable mattress, the unique floorboard creaks and refrigerator hums. So when you swap all of those elements with a whole new concoction – crickets chirping, extreme darkness, and camping gear, your body might have trouble adjusting.
Outdoor sleep disturbances, like cricket chirps or leaves crackling in the wind throughout the night, can alter your mood and health. One study in Science Direct proposes the only way to improve your quality of sleep is “avoidance at all costs of sleep disruptions caused by environmental noise.” This is why managing those elements is key.
Just because there are some obstacles to sleeping outdoors doesn’t mean you can’t get your best rest. Here’s how to ensure you get a good night’s rest in the Great Outdoors.
Get Your Best Rest
Take your bedroom outdoors, figuratively of course. If you bring the elements you love about your bedroom like a comfortable mattress, soft, airy sheets, and pillows, you can transform your outdoor space into the likes of an indoor one. So don your air mattress with a mattress pad and breathable sheets, and bring your favorite bedroom pillow in a washable pillow sham to your outdoor oasis.
While sleeping outdoors, embrace nature’s clock and toss aside your phone. Many studies link poor sleep quality with blue light emissions from TV, computer screens, and cellphones. These lights influence melatonin secretion, mix up your natural clock and alter circadian rhythms. So, when you sleep outdoors, challenge yourself to leave your technology at home, and follow the sky’s signals. Prepare to sleep when the sun sets, and rise when the sun rises. As an added bonus, the earlier you rise when sleeping outdoors, the cooler you’ll be. The longer you sleep in – especially in the summer months – the warmer it will get as the sun heats up your tent.
Embracing nature in all it’s glory – yes that’s bugs and critters included – can be rejuvenating. In a world where emails are perpetually present, making it impossible to shake off your responsibilities due to constant reminders, sleeping outdoors can shake up your nighttime routine in a good way. It can be the change you need to resist the pesky thoughts keeping you up at night. It takes you away from what you’re used to – your couch, your bed, your phone — and it throws you into a new scene. It’s a chance to breathe new air and think new thoughts. Those who resist change may not feel attracted to the freedom of sleeping outdoors, but you won’t really know until you try it. You may be delightfully surprised by how great it makes you feel.
So keep the “Great Outdoors” great by getting your best rest ever outside this summer. Reset your internal clock, wake up well rested, and feel good all day long.