Camping: the solution to sleep problems?

Having trouble sleeping? Long days, hot nights, and too much screen time could be part of the problem.

But researchers have found a weekend away camping could be the solution.

You may not think a night under canvas would provide the best sleep, but time away from the city lights could be all you need to reset your body clock.

"The problem with modern life is we've got unnatural light in the evening, particularly computers, TV screens, laptops, phones, all of which are blue light generators," says NZ Respiratory & Sleep Institute's Dr Andrew Veale.

"They suppress melatonin, delay its rise, so our bedtime gets later and later."

Researchers have found too much artificial light can cause a two-hour delay in our internal body clocks.

A new study from the United States shows getting back to nature causes melatonin levels to rise earlier, meaning people started going to bed at a more reasonable hour.

Dr Veale says we underestimate the impact light has on our sleep, and that's a problem for our health.

"Insufficient sleep leads to daytime tiredness, bad decision-making, risk of accidents, but there are more subtle effects like contributing to diabetes, hypertension and even appetite control," he says.

Once the holiday's over, if you want to get to bed earlier, experts recommend avoiding blue light for an hour or two before bed, and a morning walk in bright light to wake you up.