Sunlight for Weight Control

Tuesday September 16, 2014

Just another reason to exercise early and outside: in a new study, researchers noted a strong and consistent relationship between exposure to bright, natural light in the early part of the day and a lower body weight. For the study, researchers had 54 adults wear a special device that monitored their light exposure and the amount of time they spent sleeping. The investigators also had the study subjects keep food and activity journals. Study subjects who received the brightest light exposure, particularly from sunlight in the outdoors and early in the day, were the slimmest! Physical activity levels and sleep duration for those who experienced bright light before noon still had a significantly lower body mass index, even after controlling for other potential influences like calorie intake. Although these results are preliminary, and more research is needed, they are in line with others suggesting that light exposure has a notable influence on metabolism and appetite regulation likely caused by its influence on our diurnal rhythms. It appears that getting morning light exposure (even for just 10-20 minutes), while reducing exposure to light as the day goes on, with particular attention to avoiding excessive light exposure at night (shut off those tablets, smart phones and computers!) is good for sleep, body weight and health. (PLOS-Public Library of Science One, April 2, 2014) This finding should brighten your day.