Hands up if you enjoy spending the night outside! Be it boats, tents, the back of a car, the deck of a house, or even an open meadow in the lap of the mountains, many people enjoy sleeping outside at night and wake up happier in the morning. Stellar experiences are rare but not impossible. Sometimes, you can experience a windstorm where the whole tent shall collapse on you or heavy rain that you can enjoy from a shade.
Researchers claim that sleeping outside at night can improve the immune system, helps to accelerate the body and the brain, and boosts metabolism. Most importantly, it has a positive impact on mental well-being.
An issue of Preventive Medicine implies that spending quality time outdoors can boost sleep quality, specifically for men aged over 65. Kenneth Wright, a researcher showed that the environment has an impact on the human circadian rhythms. It refers to the shift in the biological processes of our bodies happening over a span of 24 hours, due to how the body responds to darkness and light.
Sleeping outside means that you are closer to the natural light dark cycle and not subject to artificial light. Sleeping in the great outdoors means going to sleep when it gets dark and waking up when it gets light. This means better sleep as your natural circadian rhythms are more in tune with light and dark.
Read also: Can the weather make you tired?
Is fresh air good for you at night?
People who get fresh air at night can experience a night of deep and refreshing sleep. In such conditions, people fall asleep faster and are less prone to experience sudden awakenings. When air quality is poor, the breathing quality goes down. This can prevent you from entering the deep and refreshing phase of sleep and you could be feeling tired after waking the next day.
The human brain can perform much better when there is enough oxygen. As the brain remains active even when we are asleep, it requires oxygen for optimal functioning. So if you are wondering is it healthy to sleep outside, then the answer is yes. The additional oxygen levels can help in the smooth processing of information which, in turn, allows you to sleep soundly while it is performing its job.
Fresh air can cool down the body and when we are sleeping, our body lowers the core temperature. Thus, fresh air will not only cool you down but help you achieve the desired core temperature faster so that you can have a satisfactory sleep.
If you want to know more then check out our post: Why does fresh air make you tired?
What are the benefits of sleeping outside?
A number of studies have shown that a surprising means of ruling out sleepless nights are moving outdoors at night to get a dose of fresh air. So, if you are thinking about whether or not you should sleep outside at night, here are some amazing benefits of sleeping under the stars.
A surge in the immunity levels:
It’s proven that the phytoncides, that are used by plants for protecting themselves, are also used for shielding human beings. The Japanese researchers discovered this much earlier and have also named this phenomenon of forest bathing shinkin-yoku.
In another study, it was found that people who indulge in a forest walking only two hours a day resulted in reduced cortisol levels, and lowered pulse rate, and blood pressure. It also gives your white blood cells a boost and improves the efficacy of anti-cancer protein.
Improved body and brain functions:
The human brain uses the lion’s share of the oxygen that we breathe. This implies that the better the quality of the air, the better will be the sleep quality. If you spend a night in the fresh air, it will give you clarity of thought, an improved level of oxygen will enter the muscles, and help in the smooth breaking down of lactic acid.
A journal Environment and Behavior has shown that staring at the green for some time helps relieve stress. If you can sleep in the woods at night, you can receive all the physical benefits of being outdoors. It is not just the trees that will reduce stress but the calming sounds of nature can calm the mind to a great extent.
Alteration of the melatonin levels:
A study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital has shown that exposure to indoor CFL before sleep can have a negative impact on sleep quality. It reduces the production of melatonin which is responsible for regulating wakefulness as well as sleep. This, in turn, can bring changes in the body’s glucose levels, blood pressure, and body temperature.
When you sleep outside at night, you get a chance to disconnect yourself from the rat race that gets you worked up. Depending on your preferences, you can go alone or with your friends. If you enjoy some time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, sleeping outside at night will give you a chance to reboot yourself.
These reasons also help explain why you sleep better at the beach.
If you want to try alternative ways to help relax, meditation can help to replace sleep and promote relaxation.
Sleeping outside vs inside
Though some people may argue that sleeping on a cozy mattress is far better than sleeping outdoors, various studies show otherwise. If you are thinking is it healthy to sleep outdoors, a comparison can help you understand better.
Sleeping outdoors can indeed proffer hordes of benefits, but there are several risks of sleeping outside.
Spending a night outdoors can make it difficult to remain warm owing to the natural lowering of temperatures overnight.
Also, you run the risk of becoming wet if you are not totally covered.
If you are spending the night in the woods, there’s also a risk of wild animals, venomous snakes, and poisonous insects.
What do you need to sleep outside?
First things first: before you jump on to sleep, make sure that the ground is even so that you don’t wake up with an aching back. Before you set out, you should keep your bivy shoes close, carry ear plugs, an eye mask, and most importantly, a sleeping bag. When you opt for the campsite, you should consider the direction of the sun. Also, the sleeping bag you select will have an impact on the temperature and your overall comfort and so, you should always opt for the one that will keep you warm.
If you are using an air mattress then you may want to find out does sleeping on an air mattress hurt your back, and can you use a heated blanked on an air mattress. Also, don’t forget that you can over inflate an air mattress!
Conclusion: Is it healthy to sleep outside?
The hyper-connectivity of the world propels us to take a break from the virtual world and spend some time in the close serenity of nature. Going to bed at night and waking up at daybreak is something that has been going on since time immemorial. How about capitalizing on this time and having a restful sleep outside and replenishing yourself to the core? So what are you waiting for? Get set for a sleep that would make all the difference.