Why does fresh air make you sleepier??

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Syzygys, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    1. Let's say you sit inside 3 hours watching TV. Now you do the same, sit outside and read a book in the breeze, and you get much sleepier/tired. Why?

    I assume it has something to do with more oxygen in the air. In a closed environment the breathed out air sooner or later fills up the room, and less oxygen enters the brain, slowing the body down. At least that is my theory.

    2 Well, since we are at it, why in the winter one gets more tired than let's say in the spring? 1 hour of dogwalking in the cold makes me way more sleepy, than doing the same in warm weather. Here my theory says that in the cold the body has to work extra to warm up the air before it reaches the lung, thus more energy is used for the same activity. Is that right?
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  3. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Well, after googling problem #1, here are some possible answers:

    a/ "Fresh air helps to relax and unwind the body and increases levels of endorphins (body's own feel-good hormones) which leads to a feeling of tiredness."

    b/ "When a wave breaks, the force of the breaking wave makes oxygen (O2) turn into something called ozone (03). So when you breathe it in, you're breathing in extra oxygen and so you feel invigorated. However, when you come away from it and begin to breathe the normal amount of oxygen again you feel tired. It's like coming down off a high."

    c/ "Fresh air doesn't really make someone feel tired, but the activities that are done outside make one tired." <<<<< this doesn't apply, since we are talking about the same activities, sitting inside and outside
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  5. keith1 Guest

    When one is driving long distances and get tired, yet want to keep moving without drugs, or stopping for a roadside nap, you roll the window down and breath in some fresh air, and let the wind blow on your face, to wake up. You can also move your toes, as this works the longest nerve transits to your brain.

    You may be getting mixed conclusions, because reading requires more effort to assimilate information than watching/listening to TV?

    Winter time has many applicable instances of hibernating influences and slower metabolic operations, which should also place doubt in your theories.
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  7. Me-Ki-Gal Banned Banned

    fresh air and exercise have a tendency to wake me up. I worked out side most of my life and if I eat a big long lunch that will make me tiered , but I always thought it was the relaxation of sitting and eating that caused the lazy feeling. Once I would get going ( Moving around ) I would wake back up and perform my work duties. Saturdays in the house sleeping on the couch is tiered time for me ( in the house ) Movie watching sleeping , that is if my wife is not needling me to stay awake.
  8. wynn ˙ Valued Senior Member

    I too have noticed this, I can't read outside, I get sleepy within minutes. Although my neighbor often works on her laptop outside and she doesn't seem to have any problems.

    I think the tiredness may have something to do with the discrepancy between the amount of fresh air and the kind of activity one engages in. Namely, it seems it is normal to do more physically vigorous things when there is more fresh air. But to deliberately slow down in such a situation (in order to read or watch tv) is unnatural, takes up energy, hence the tiredness.

    Although I presume that the actual interest that a person has in an activity plays an important part as well.
    I suppose that if I were reading a book that I really really like, I could stay focused and awake no matter where I would read, indoors or outside.
  9. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Also the weather type might play a role. Let's say 60 degrees but cloudy with slight rain is less tiring than a sunny, windy 40 degree spring weather. Again, it is possible that the wind keeps refreshing the oxygen around the person.
    Metabolism (breathing and living) is basicly slow burning. When more oxygen is provided for burning, the process speeds up, like a fire burning faster when blowing at it. That's why people living in high altitute live longer, because there is less oxygen there (and they get more exercise too).
    So in a closed space the body gets less and less oxygen after a while, and the metabolism slows down (I assume). Faster metabolism and activity makes us more tired...

    At least that is MY explanation...
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    I have never had this experience. I find fresh air invigorating whereas it's easy to doze off indoors, even in my office.
    I have also never had this experience. The summer heat makes me depressed and lethargic. Sure, everybody loves spring because you can finally go outside without a stocking cap and moon boots, and you don't have to dig your car out of the snow, scrape the ice off your windshield, and let the heater warm up for five minutes before you can stand to drive it.

    But I find winter rather invigorating. Of course my dogs are Lhasa Apsos, a Tibetan breed, and they love snow more than anything. They'll stay out in it all day and run me ragged. The rest of the year they just sit on the sofa with me watching TV.
    Unless you're in Saskatchewan, your air passages warm up the air pretty fast. On the contrary, in the summer your body has to devote considerable resources to keep from overheating. Heat stroke happens to people all the time and it's nothing to sneer at.

    Sure, in the winter you might drink a couple extra cups of tea in the course of a day to stay warm and cozy. But in the summer you might drink an extra gallon of cold water--or beer.
  11. John99 Banned Banned

    The weather certainly plays a role, as well as factors like noise and others contributing to a perceived serene atmosphere.

    Basically it's what makes you at ease. A room or any kind of confined space, either psychical or psychological does the opposite. Obviously i am alluding to the psychological and the psychical is just a given...well where we would say obvious factors.
  12. John99 Banned Banned

    Therefore the openness is the main factor with being physically comfortable an obvious requirement.
  13. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Funny, cold wakes me up. Heat makes me sleepy.

    Summer these days, here, is dangerously hot. As in over 98.6 degrees during the day starting in June through to September.
    Especially for me now as my psych cocktail includes a med that messes with temperature regulation. (It helps keep me from getting explody and prevents migraines.)
    I wasn't aware of that side effect...and the first time I went for my hour's bike ride in 99-degree heat, (37.2 Celsius) I damn near passed out. Had to go home and slap icepacks in my armpits.

    Cold, though, can irritate my asthma.
    This winter I went running one really cold day with a scarf tied over my face...and a ball-cap on...
    I don't look very female ordinarily-add heavy winter workout clothes, you're going to assume male from my height and shoulder width.
    This was in a park. I happened to be running in a lady's general direction, and she fled in apparent terror.
  14. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    There is a simple explanation for that. In very small spaces after you breath there for prolinged period, fatigue sets in because of lack of sufficient oxygen. That's why casinos use extra oxygen specially during the night, to keep the players alert.
    Now you might think there is a contradiction here with my theory, but I think the effect depends on the size of the room.

    ...and obviously we were talking about the same activities, sitting and not doing much else...
  15. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    Maybe you should try it. And we are talking about sitting (nothing heavy exercise) for extended period of time outside in the fresh spring breeze. Let's say 2 hours reading, then report back....

    Same with the winter experience, compare 1 hour easy walking in the springtime and in 20 degree winter. I say you get more tired and sleepy in the winter.

    (I hope you noticed I didn't include sweltering heat.)
  16. Syzygys As a mother, I am telling you Valued Senior Member

    People, nobody said anything about heat. Didn't I say springish breeze?? Nice 50 degrees in the sun? Try it for 2 hours with a good book and see if it doesn't make you sleepy compared to 2 hours reading inside...

    Funny but so far nobody had any scientific explanation just subjective personal apples to oranges comparisons/experiences...

    But since so many of you mentioned heat, let's do apples with apples:

    Outside reading in 95 degrees with wind and without wind. Which one makes you more tired after 2 hours???
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  17. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    With wind, possibly tolerable.
    Without wind., I'd be very hot. And probably be sunburnt even in the shade...a combination of the med effect and the strong solar radiation we get here...

    I either stick on sunblock or it actually physically hurts my skin to be in direct sunlight for very long, and I will get burnt in the shade.

    This is my picture BTW, we were camping, and I stopped for a little snack...

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    What I would expect...is that it's something you personally find so soothing that you relax, and a lot of us are just running on adrenaline, so when we really relax our lack of sleep catches up with us.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  18. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    Fresh air?????

    "The chlorine insecticides, like DDT, are known to move through the food chain and to make bald eagle lay paper thin shelled eggs or poison the milk of the Inuit (Eskimo) women. The amounts thrown on the fields may look minute but once these carcinogens enter the food chain in small levels, starting with the microscopic algae, it binds to the fat molecules and reaches an increasingly higher concentration (a process named biomagnification) while moving from algae to larvae, fish and eagle or to seal and Inuit.

    That's why they were banned in the 70's in U.S. Thousands of everyday chemicals have been checked for their safety by assessing how
    easily they dissolve in water versus fat. The water-loving ones do not build up in the food chain. But this approach ignores another way for accumulation: air.

    A new research has assessed how easily a chemical travels from the lungs into the air versus how easily it dissolves in fats and water. It appeared that thousands of contaminants can build up in air-breathing animals, if not water-breathing ones.
    Many chemicals that dissolve relatively easy in water can persist in the air, accumulating "specifically in nonaquatic food webs: mammals, birds, human beings. In mammals and humans, we don't breathe water, we breathe air," said lead researcher Frank Gobas, an environmental toxicologist at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

    His team checked about 12,000 chemicals under review by the Canadian government to assess their environmental and health effects; about 30 % of them could be stored by air-breathing organisms.

  19. Ronaldo01 Registered Member

    Well its a good question that fresh air makes you sleepier and there are some reasons behind this. Because fresh air make you energetic and you don't take fresh air all the time so that's why it make you sleepy.
  20. quinnsong Valued Senior Member

    Now now now Ronaldo, you do realize what you said is totally contradictory! Too much fresh air maybe.
  21. birch Valued Senior Member

    maybe it has to do with even slight differences in temperature.

    temperature can play a part in how comfortable one is and therefore sleepier too. some people prefer cooler, some warmer.
  22. SilentLi89 Registered Senior Member

    That happens to me too, but only if the weather is comfortable. The sun makes me sleepy. It feels very comforting to be in the sun even if I'm just sitting in the sunlight shining through the window, I feel the same way. Sitting outside on a cloudy day even if it is warm does not put me to sleep, but a sunny day in spring almost always does. I think it might have something to do with the sun. maybe? :shrug:
  23. Kittamaru Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Adieu, Sciforums. Valued Senior Member

    Uhm... I was under the impression that Ozone (O3) is, in fact, highly toxic to humans and of an entirely different nature than Oxygen (O2)...?

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