Another great camping experiment

In the original Incredible camping experiment, a week-long camping trip was shown to cause people to fall sleep & wake earlier, feel better, and advanced their melatonin secretion.  In the new Camping Experiment, they showed that 70% of this is accomplished within the first 2 days!


Some of the #FakeNews headlines attributed the improved sleep quality to sleeping in a tent.  “Cute.”  More likely, this was driven by absence of artificial light.

Proposal: How about fasting from artificial light one day per week?  Or maybe just one night per week?




During normal daily non-camping living, we get way more exposure to light: mainly at night (the worst time), and a lot of blue (the worst kind):


All light at night isn’t bad: moonlight and campfire are A-OK.



In the absence of artificial light at night, our circadian rhythms are much more rapidly entrained:


^note the robust shifts in melatonin in the absence of artificial light



Do an artificial light fast a couple nights per week: a 70% improvement in circadian rhythms is worth it.  Or at least get wise about hot blue blockers.


calories proper








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  • Miguel Fonseca

    Can you make any recommendations regarding some type of light bulb that could somehow emulate campfire light, such that one could still utilize some artificial light at home without disruption of circadian rhythms?

    • low watt incandescent amber/red bulbs

    • TechnoTriticale

      Bill’s suggestion is fine, but to save a few watts…

      Red LED bulbs that do NOT have red globes are probably using native red emitter diodes, with very narrow spectra, including zero blue. I replaced what were supposed to be heat lamps in our bathrooms with these for use as night lights.

      LED bulbs (and CFLs) using colored globes are probably using emitters at some other wavelength(s), perhaps even “white” with a typical nasty blue peak, and the filtering provided by the globe may be insufficient.

      When it comes to spectral power distribution (SPD) from lamps, don’t trust your own lyin’ eyes. If you have a camera that supports custom white balance, and a photo editor that shows histograms for the R-G-B channels, you could use a non-flash photo to perform a rough assessment of blue output from light sources.

      We also set up a white light LED reading lamp to be more night-safe by covering the lens with a Roscoe filter in Medium Amber (available in sheets from various internet sources).

    • Miguel Fonseca

      Thank you both for your answers.

  • For those who wear glasses, lenses now come with blue light filters, so you can forgo the orange goggles, should you so desire.

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