Light Goes A Long Way • By adding sunlight and other types of light to your everyday activities you can help to: • Lose Weight • Sleep Better • Concentrate and Motivate • Fight Diseases
How it Works • Every morning, light absorbed by your retinas helps set a master clock in your brain that cues other biological timepieces that regulate blood pressure, temperature, and hormone production. • Ongoing light stimulation and the lack of it at the end of the day keeps this complex system, known as Circadian Rhythms cycling in an orderly fashion.
Morning Motivations • Six Key Steps to Follow: • Rise and Truly Shine • Boost Your Concentration • Get an Energy Jolt • Improve Your Mood • Rein in Your Appetite • Fight Diseases
Rise and Truly Shine • When you first wake up in the morning, head for the brightest light possible (i.e. opening the blinds on a sunny day), this will increase your alertness and truly wake you up. • If you have to get up when it is still dark outside, try using a bedside lamp with a bluish/white compact fluorescent bulb.
Boost Your Concentration • Sunlight directly activates the parts of the brain responsible for maintaining alertness. • Sit by a window whenever possible to take in that sunlight and stay alert.
Get an Energy Jolt • First sun rays of early morning suppress the production of melatonin (a hormone that makes you sleepy) and keep your circadian cycle on track to increase alertness through the day. • Take an early morning walk to boost your afternoon energy levels and help it continue into the night.
Improve Your Mood • Light encourages production of serotonin, the mood-regulating neurotransmitter. • Not enough light can lead to mild depression (i.e. Seasonal Affective Disorder [SAD])
Rein in Your Appetite • To put the brakes on nighttime nibbling, eat a substantial healthy breakfast shortly after rising out of bed. • Women who eat larger morning meals may consume fewer total daily calories without even trying.
Fight Diseases • Light helps to stimulate the production of Vitamin D in your skin, which has been proven to prevent: • Cardiovascular Disease • Multiple Sclerosis • Diabetes • Rheumatoid Arthritis • Colon Cancer • And many others
Fight Diseases • Supplements help but don’t help as much as natural sunlight and natural Vitamin D. • It is impossible to overdose on natural Vitamin D, however increased exposure to sunlight in fair complexioned people can increase the risk of cancer. • 15-30 minutes of direct sunlight can produce 4,000 IU of Vitamin D, equivalent to 40 glasses of whole milk.
Get Help in the Evening • Nighttime prompts release of melatonin, a hormone that brings on sleep and drowsiness. • Women who work the night shift are more prone to breast cancer than women who do not. • The night shift may also increase the occurrences of colorectal cancer and prostrate cancer.
Don’t Use Bright Lights • For evening times, exposure to bright lights for even 20 minutes can suppress melatonin production. • Use light bulbs with 40-60 watt for washing dishes, reading, television, and computer usage.
Sleep Should Be DARK • When sleeping at night the room should be completely dark. • Nightlights are good for those quick trips to the bathroom, but they should not be left on all night. • The darker the room the better your sleep will be, the longer you will stay asleep, and the better you will feel in the morning.
Light Up Your Health Follow These Simple Steps to a Healthier Life
Submitted by Adam C Hawkinson, Resident Assistant, Southwest Minnesota State University