A person who is indoors and exposed to natural bright light conditions faces a decreased risk of feeling sleepy in the afternoon, according to a study published in the April 1st issue of the journal SLEEP.
The study examined the effects of brief indoor exposure to natural bright light on afternoon sleepiness. The authors found that such conditions would improve a person’s physiologic arousal in the afternoon, the effects of which lasted for at least one hour.
In addition, the authors studied the effect of a 30-minute afternoon nap on several kinds of task performances and physiologic arousal level. Their results measured consistent with previous studies, which demonstrated that a “power nap” in the afternoon does improve a person’s alertness level and ability to get things accomplished.
The authors concluded that a person profits from a 30-minute nap, but the benefits of short-term exposure to natural light should not be overlooked.
“Although the favorable effects of natural bright light exposure seemed slightly shorter than those of a brief nap, the present findings show natural light is a practical strategy to reduce afternoon sleepiness,” the authors wrote.
SLEEP is the official journal of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, LLC, a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. Further information about this study can be found on the Internet at www.journalsleep.org.