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Our body clock is what controls when we’re most alert, and when we’re most tired. Research has found that we can control our body clocks and level of alertness by working out at specific times of the day.

Normally, melatonin levels begin to increase at night and decrease in the morning. But an Arizona State University study found that exercising at certain times shifts melatonin release and, in turn, advances or delays the body clock.

The team instructed 101 participants to run on a treadmill at one of eight different times for five days.

They found that exercising at 7 a.m. or between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. advanced the body clock and made participants feel more alert earlier in the day. Exercising between 7 and 10 p.m., however, delayed the body clock and made participants feel more alert later in the day.

This study shows we can use exercise to manipulate our body clocks and level of alertness.


Youngstedt, S. D., Elliott, J. A., Kripke, D. F. (2019, February 19). Human circadian phase-response curves for exercise. The Journal of Physiology. Retrieved from

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is a staff writer at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

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