There is a connection between sunshine, exercise and insomnia.
Dr. Richard Allen of the John Hopkins Sleep Disorder Center works on the premise that sleep is controlled by the balance within the body of wakefulness and sleep. Increasing alertness during the day should have a reciprocal effect on sleepiness at night. Dr. Allen urges insomniacs to spend at least 20 minutes in the sun first thing in the morning. “Sunlight early in the day advances circadian clocks, making people feel alert earlier,” he points out.
He also recommends daily exercise. Studies show that 15 to 30 minutes of strenuous exercise, such as walking or stretching, about two hours before bedtime alters what is typically a quiet time for insomniacs. Patients are expected to get up at the same time every morning no matter how sleepy they are.
“No naps, and don’t even think about doing anything in a horizontal position during the day,” Dr. Allen warns his patients. If they get drowsy during the day, they are to stand up and move around. Of 51 patients in a study, 11 dropped out within the first two months, and 39 had been significantly helped by the end of a year –all these with no sleeping pills or even a warm glass of milk.