Need a new strategy to add to your weight-loss regimen? How about something as easy as a daily dose of bright, morning light?
According to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, those who had more exposure to daylight earlier in the day had a lower overall body mass index (BMI) than those who got their exposure later in the day. A definite reason to rise and shine early versus rolling out of bed after breakfast has stopped getting served at your favorite local diner!
Now you may be wondering if other factors were considered, such as diet. They were. Surprisingly, the positive effect from light exposure was independent of not only how many calories participants consumed, but when they went to sleep and how much they slept. Also, the study adjusted for other factors, such as age, gender, and season. Out of all the variables considered, light exposure accounted for the largest portion of the variance — 20% to be exact.
These positive effects may be related to how light affects our circadian rhythm, our body’s natural “clock,” and the release of hormones, such as melatonin — two important factors in weight regulation and metabolism.
The main thing that affected body mass index (BMI), which is an estimate of body fat based on height and weight measurements, was the intensity, duration, and timing of the light exposure according to the researchers. In addition to finding that the average majority of light exposure earlier in the day was associated with a lower BMI, they also found that for every hour later of light exposure, there was a 1.28 unit increase in BMI. Based on the data, the researchers concluded that light may very well be a “modifiable risk factor for the prevention and management of obesity in modern societies.”
In light of this recent study, I’m going to be a little more conscientious about opening my curtains and blinds in the morning to let the daylight stream in! Also, I’m going to shoot for going for morning walks more often. How about you? Do you think this study will change how you live or when you spend time outside?
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Copyright © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2014 – 2015. All rights reserved.
Photos © Karen Peltier and Well Gal, 2014 – 2015.
There have been a lot of studies over the years about this… but to the depth of it’s effects on the body… some of this is new to me. It doesn’t help that I pick late hours, but I do need to get out more often. I’ve been trying to work on that.
I will just have to commit to sunbathing some more this year.
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Fasniating Fascinating study, I wonder how many of the people taking part where dog walkers? As that’s one good reason to get up in the morning and go out, before you’ve even properly woken up 😉
Thanks for sharing this Karen 🙂
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Hi Sarah. The study didn’t mention the lifestyle habits of the participants, such as if any were dog walkers. But having a dog would be an excellent way to make sure you get out and get going! Thanks for taking the time to comment.
I adore the sunlight in the early morning hours so now that you shared this info I have another reason to spend time outdoors in the morning! Thanks for the interesting study.
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Hi Shelley. Thanks for writing in. Yes, there is something special and different about the sunlight in the early morning hours. I find it very peaceful.
We live out in the country, and never close the curtains, so we get the full benefit of sunshine inside the house. Bu-u-u-u-ut… I don’t know if anything will ever get this die-hard night owl to start going to bed early enough that she can get up early in the morning!
Besides… here in north/central Alberta, Canada, the sun rises before 4am on summer mornings. It’s easy in the winter, when it rises just before 9am.
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Hi Wilena. Thanks for writing in. I’ve got to say I’ve never lived in a place with such an early or late sunrise. It would be very strange for me as most of my life the sun has risen around 6ish. Do you feel like it affects you in any way (e.g., energy, mood)?
Well Gal recently posted…Keep Slim & Trim With a Daily Dose of Bright Morning Light