Do you struggle with insomnia? Or feel like no matter how much sleep you get you're always tired and sluggish? Struggle to keep up with the kids early mornings and midnight wake ups? You're not alone. I'm a mom who has always had a need for a lot of sleep and so when my son was newborn, I was thrown for a loop and my mental health struggled, in part, due to a lack of consistent sleep. Thankfully, he now sleeps through the night (most nights) at 5 years old, but my fascination and complicated relationship with sleep hasn't gone away. And I'm making a goal in 2023 to get better, more restoritve sleep.
So I created the Sleep Outside Challenge! It's simple: just sleep outside once a month this year. You make up your own rules.
I'll be there for support and inspiration. You don't need any fancy equipment or Instagram-worthy camping spots, You can even use your sleeping bag outside under the stars in your backyard. So if this interests you, keep reading and learn more about my sleep outside challenge.
Reading the book The Open-Air Life by Linda Åkeson Mcgurk has inspired me to do something new in 2023.
As the name suggests, this book is about the benefits of getting out in nature and among other humans. The author
uses her own experiences to illustrate why it’s important for us all to get outside, even if it just means taking a walk around the block or going camping for a weekend. She explains how interacting with nature helps reduce stress, improves mood, and makes you feel more connected to your surroundings. Using both anecdotal evidence from traditional practices and modern scientific research to back up what the Nordic people have known for generations--The Open Air Life is beneficial for the body, mind, and soul.
Challenge yourself to sleep outside once a month.
I have been inspired to challenge myself, and I'm inviting you to join me. The challenge is to sleep outside once a month. You can do this in a tent, cabin, or hammock. You can do it alone or with friends. There are no rules and there is no competition—you make up your own challenge!
When you join, you'll get:
A jump-start guide to the challenge includes a 12-month camping planner with a sleep tracker and room to plan each month's camping trip.
A challenge vision page with room to make your rules, write down your commitments to yourself, brainstorm ideas, and plan your yearlong goals.
Monthly newsletter with tips, exclusive discounts, guest articles, my reflections, and more.
Community (Hosted on Facebook in the Magic of Childhood group) of others challenging themselves similarly.
Sleep outside more to reconnect with nature and your natural circadian rhythm.
The sleep outside challenge is a great way to reconnect with nature and your own natural circadian rhythm. The research shows camping can help fight the effects of "social jet lag," which happens when we don't get enough sunlight and our meltatonin levels are delayed and our biological clocks fall out of sync (Mcgurk, 40).
Connecting with nature helps you appreciate and care for the planet we all share on. In the Open Air Life, Linda showed us evidence of the benefits of sleeping outside. One man slept outside once a week for a year, and one researcher found that 69% of the benefits from outdoor sleeping can be gained in just two nights. So I want to see what one night a month does for my sleep!
Having trouble sleeping? Try spending more time outside with nature.
Insomnia and sleep struggles are common in today's world. Many people have developed a disconnect with the natural rhythms of their body, including their natural circadian rhythm. That is why it is important to reconnect with nature—by sleeping outside, you can help regulate your sleep cycles and fight sleep problems.
Sunrise and sunset will provide different amounts of solar UV rays throughout the year (specifically UVB), which can impact melatonin production, which helps regulate our circadian clock.
Fresh air during sleep may also contribute to improved sleep quality by regulating breathing, reducing stress hormones in your body as well as improving circulation and blood pressure levels.
Spending more time outdoors helps you appreciate and care for the planet we all share - so don't leave it for later.
As we all know, spending more time outdoors is good for the body, mind, and soul. But did you know it also helps to protect the planet we all share?
Studies have shown that connecting with nature can reduce stress, improve mental health and increase happiness. It's been linked to helping fight depression and anxiety, as well as lowering blood pressure and improving sleep quality.
Spending time outside also helps us become more empathetic towards others - meaning we're less likely to judge them based on their appearance or circumstance (something which is often used against people with disabilities).
And lastly, by increasing our awareness and connection to nature, and passing that love and connection down to the next generation, we are fostering reciprocity and future conservationists.
But what about those who cannot spend much time outside due to disability or illness?
First, I hope you will reach out and ask me to help troubleshoot different risks and barriers to getting outside and camping. As someone with chronic illnesses, I am passionate about increasing accessibility. So If there's an accommodation we can find to help you get outside and participate in whatever way feeds your soul, I'd love to help you find it!
Learn New Skills
Learning new skills that help connect you with nature is a pillar of Friluftsliv philosophy
As part of the challenge, you will be invited to learn new skills that help connect you with nature. I'll be picking a new focus each month to build my own skill, share resources, and share what I learn with you.
Learning new survival skills and reconnecting with nature is fundamental to living off the grid but also great practices to expand your mind and be a lifelong learner.
Not interested in learning survival skills?
No worries !
With everything in this challenge, it's up to you to pick and choose which experiences are meaningful to you. You can also use your time to learn about yourself and what makes you happy, or simply take some quiet time for yourself in the forest where there is no noise or distractions from technology or other people.
Details to Join the Challenge
Join the Playful Acre Challenge at www.playfulacre.com/challenge
You'll get an email with more details including a link to the facebook group, your free planner/tracker download, and a welcome message from me!
Won't you join me?
If you're looking for a challenge this year, I invite you to join me in this adventure. You don't need any special skills or equipment, just some motivation and desire to connect with your surroundings. So go ahead and explore the great outdoors!