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20.02.2022


Exercising outside during the day improves sleep

Sleep is crucial to almost every aspect of your health. The better you sleep, the longer you can live. But how can you ensure that your sleep quality improves? Korean researchers from Nambu University have found a dirt-cheap method that is also guaranteed to have hardly any side effects: jogging or walking outside for 30 minutes during the day.


Exercising outside during the day improves sleep


Study
The Koreans experimented with 10 healthy male students. The students were successively asked to spend half an hour outdoors every day for a week, then jogging for half an hour every day in a gym for a week (or, if the students could not, walking at a brisk pace for half an hour), and finally for a week every day, jog or walk for half an hour in daylight during the day.

At the end of each week, the researchers measured how much the men slept and how quickly it took them to fall asleep after getting into bed. The shorter this time, the better the quality of your sleep.

The researchers also took measurements after a week in which the students did not go outside and did not eercise [Control].

Results
The number of minutes of sleep per 24 hours only increased by approximately half an hour due to exposure to daylight. Movement, alone or in combination with daylight, resulted in an increase of about fifteen minutes.


Exercising outside during the day improves sleep


Exercising outside during the day improves sleep


The combination of daylight and movement halved the time it took the students to fall asleep after they got into bed.

The researchers also questioned the students about the quality of their sleep using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. This is a scale on which you score lower the better the quality of your sleep. If you score below 5, the quality of your sleep is good. If you score higher, then it isn't.


Exercising outside during the day improves sleep


Sleep quality was best if the men were physically active for an hour each day in daylight.

Early in the morning, the researchers measured the concentration of melatonin in the subjects' blood. It was higher after the week that the subjects had exercised in daylight.


Exercising outside during the day improves sleep


That was in line with expectations. The better you sleep, the higher the concentration of melatonin in your blood just before, during and just after you sleep. [The better your sleep quality, the lower the melatonin concentration during the day.]

Conclusion
"Based on these results, we concluded that both sun exposure group and exercise group with sun exposure positively affected sleep-related hormonal responses, showing good sleep habits and high quality of sleep", summarize the Koreans.

Source:
J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2014 Sep;18(3):293-9.

More:
Working out in the evening does not happen at the expense of sleep 17.12.2018
Sleep better - do strength training 25.05.2015
Move more, sleep more (and better) 09.03.2013

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