You meant to go to bed at 11 last night, but then you spent three hours tossing and turning before you finally zonked out. (OK, one of those hours was spent watching The Path, but still.) Falling asleep and staying asleep is a problem for many of us, but great news: There’s a new, easy solution to our bedtime woes.
New research published in Current Biology found that more exposure to electrical lighting (read: the office) and less exposure to sunlight led to difficulty falling asleep and waking up. When study subjects went camping, however, their circadian rhythms basically reset, and their melatonin levels (the most precise indication of our biological clocks) spiked at an earlier time for both waking up and falling asleep.
The takeaway? More exposure to natural sunlight helps our internal clock adjust to seasonal changes and allows us to fall asleep faster and wake up earlier.
Our suggestion: Next time you’re cooped up indoors, take a 30-minute walk outside, breathe in the fresh air and relish all the z’s you’re sure to get come nightfall.