What’s your routine like in the morning? Do you watch TV for an hour or read the newspaper in a dark kitchen? We wrote an earlier article about avoiding exposure to light at night. However, it turns out the opposite is true in the mornings. Exposure to light first thing in the morning can improve your sleep, waist line, mood and cognitive performance.
One study monitored participants with insomnia, then exposed them to light in the morning for a week and tracked their sleep for 3 additional weeks. Half of the participants were exposed to a bright light (2500 lux) while the other half was exposed to a dim light control (100 lux). The bright light group fell asleep faster and slept for 51 more minutes on average. The bright light group also reported less insomnia, less sleep related anxiety, less daytime fatigue and improved daytime functioning
So, if possible, get outside early in the morning. This could be a great time to go for a walk or run. If this doesn’t work for you then open the blinds in your home or at least flick on the lights in the morning. Another study showed that an alarm clock that simulates dawn is an especially effective artificial lighting method. Good luck!
Chellappa, Sarah Laxhmi, et al. “Non-visual effects of light on melatonin, alertness and cognitive performance: can blue-enriched light keep us alert?.”PloS one 6.1 (2011): e16429.
Gabel, Virginie, et al. “Effects of artificial dawn and morning blue light on daytime cognitive performance, well-being, cortisol and melatonin levels.”Chronobiology international 30.8 (2013): 988-997.
Reid, Kathryn J., et al. “Timing and intensity of light correlate with body weight in adults.” PloS one 9.4 (2014): e92251.
Rosenthal, Norman E., et al. “Phase-shifting effects of bright morning light as treatment for delayed sleep phase syndrome.” Sleep 13.4 (1990): 354-361.