By: Blonde Two

My 50 Sleeps for 50 Years challenge has gone really well (more on that another day) and Mr B2 has shared many of my outdoor sleeps with me. Once we both realised how well we slept outside, Mr B2 and I started sleeping with our bedroom window and curtains open in an attempt to mimic the rhythms and fresh air of outdoor sleep. This means that, whatever the time of year, we tend to wake up with the dawn, which has to knock-on effect of a much earlier bedtime at around 9 o’clock each evening. I am a great believer in the importance of circadian rhythms and know my body functions best when I sleep with the dark, rise with the light and get outside during the daylight hours. Waking up to the gradual influence of daylight is far preferable to waking up to an alarm, we do use one just in case but I am usually awake before it goes off.

When we were van camping last week in Wales, I was reminded of just how dark somewhere with no light pollution can be; I could touch my nose and still not see my fingers in front of my face. The van has a great set of LED lights but Mr B2 opted for evening ‘Mood Lighting’, which consisted of two head torches strategically strung to face the floor. This had the double advantage of ensuring that we were cosy in our sleeping bags even earlier than usual and making the extreme dark outside seem more approachable. I slept remarkably well considering that we had one night of hammering rain (a great noise on a van roof) and another of van-rocking wind and it was a joy to wake at dawn and look outside to discover where we had parked up in the dark the night before.

The only problem with the ‘wake at dawn’ system is that you end up with different sleep patterns at different times of year. I am lucky enough, working as a freelancer, to be able to take advantage of this but it is not so easy for those with set work schedules or who work shifts. Of course, the thing I do within an hour of waking up each morning also adds to my feeling of wellbeing… but I am guessing a chilly swim in November seas wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea!


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