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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2001 Jul;281(1):R197-205.

Phase-advance shifts of human circadian pacemaker are accelerated by daytime physical exercise.

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Department of Physiology, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo 060 Japan.


Effects of forced sleep-wake schedules with and without physical exercise were examined on the human circadian pacemaker under dim light conditions. Subjects spent 15 days in an isolation facility separately without knowing the time of day and followed a forced sleep-wake schedule of a 23 h 40-min period for 12 cycles, and physical exercise was imposed twice per waking period for 2 h each with bicycle- or rowing-type ergometers. As a result, plasma melatonin rhythm was significantly phase advanced with physical exercise, whereas it was not changed without exercise. The difference in phase was already significant 6 days after the start of exercise. The amplitude of melatonin rhythm was not affected. A single pulse of physical exercise in the afternoon or at midnight significantly phase delayed the melatonin rhythms when compared with the prepulse phase, but the amount of phase shift was not different from that observed in the sedentary controls. These findings indicate that physical exercise accelerates phase-advance shifts of the human circadian pacemaker associated with the forced sleep-wake schedule.

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