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Am J Physiol. 1999 Dec;277(6):R1598-604. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.1999.277.6.R1598.

Intermittent bright light and exercise to entrain human circadian rhythms to night work.

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Biological Rhythms Research Lab, Department of Psychology, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


Bright light can phase shift human circadian rhythms, and recent studies have suggested that exercise can also produce phase shifts in humans. However, few studies have examined the phase-shifting effects of intermittent bright light, exercise, or the combination. This simulated night work field study included eight consecutive night shifts followed by daytime sleep/dark periods (delayed 9 h from baseline). There were 33 subjects in a 2 x 2 design that compared 1) intermittent bright light (6 pulses, 40-min long each, at 5,000 lx) versus dim light and 2) intermittent exercise (6 bouts, 15-min long each, at 50-60% of maximum heart rate) versus no exercise. Bright light and exercise occurred during the first 6 h of the first three night shifts. The circadian phase marker was the demasked rectal temperature minimum. Intermittent bright-light groups had significantly larger phase delays than dim-light groups, and 94% of subjects who received bright light had phase shifts large enough for the temperature minimum to reach daytime sleep. Exercise did not affect phase shifts; neither facilitating nor inhibiting phase shifts produced by bright light.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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