Article

Effect of forest bathing on sleep and physical activity

Authors:
  • RIKEN, Center for integrative Medical Science
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Abstract

Objective: In order to explore the effect of a forest trip on human sleep, we performed continuous monitoring with an accelerometer, including during forest visits. Methods: Twelve healthy male office workers in Tokyo, aged 37 to 55 years old, were selected for the study after obtaining their informed consent. The subjects undertook a three-day/two-night trip to three different forest fields. On the first day, they walked for two hours in the afternoon in a forest field; on the second day, they walked for two hours in the morning and in the afternoon, respectively, in two different forest fields. An accelerometer was used to monitor the duration of sleep and the daily physical activity level. Results: Significant increase of the sleep time during the forest bathing trip was recognized as compared with that noted before the trip. In addition, there was also a significant increase of the daily physical activity during the trip as compared with that after the trip. Conclusions: The authors speculate that the forest bathing trip might have had a beneficial effect on the sleep time, irrespective of the daily physical activity level.

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... Among the general health benefits for physical wellbeing, improved sleep effects [39,101,102] were observed together with positive effects on metabolism [103]. Forest interventions, by making people feel more comfortable, more vital and positive, may also support positive social wellbeing, including improved self-esteem and health and promoting positive behaviours towards environment and health, e.g., in undergraduate students and children after FT programmes [104,105]. ...
... A couple of studies suggest that walks and relaxing activities in the forest might improve the general sense of wellbeing, depression and decrease pain and insomnia in patients with fibromyalgia [144] and with chronic wide-spread pain [165]. Moreover, forest visits may have positive effects on people with sleep complaints [101,102], on quality of life and stress also in postmenopausal women [166], in patients with breast-cancer receiving traditional therapy [96] and in patients with metabolic syndrome [141]. ...
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Chapter
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