Early birds stay slim
Good Morning Sunshine
This can be pure sunlight or bright indoor lighting. So there may be another reason my early morning yoga makes me happy, beyond the release of endorphins!!! These new findings fit with the growing body of evidence that suggests that keeping our body clocks synchronized with the natural light-dark cycle is not only beneficial to our health but to our waistlines too. Researchers at Chicago’s Northwestern University recruited adults (average age 30) from the Chicago area who wore wrist monitors that tracked their exposure to both light and sleep patterns for a week.
The participants also diarised what they ate in daily logs so the researchers could estimate their calorie intake and they found that the earlier light exposure occurred during the day, the lower the individuals body mass index. The researchers accounted for participants activity level, sleep pattern/timing, age and calorie intake. The people with the strongest correlation between light and BMI were exposed to more than 500 lux of light, equivalent to bright indoor lighting. Outdoor light can range from 1,000 lux up into the hundreds of thousands.
The study was published in the journal PLoS One (http://www.plosone.org/) The findings weren’t necessarily surprising as it is assumed that exposure to light plays a role in regulating metabolism. There are animal studies in mice where disrupting the natural light-dark cycle with long periods of exposure to light leads to weight gain. The conclusions drawn were that we should get more bright light between 8 a.m. and mid-day and that about 20 to 30 minutes of morning light is enough to affect BMI (body mass index). So modifying light does have potential for use in weight management which would complement similar recent research showing that getting enough sleep helps people avoid weight gain. The field of chronobiology (the study of internal biological clocks) is growing which means so does interest in exploring these types of weight management interventions. Satchin Panda, an associate professor at the Salk Institute who studies chronobiology said “This is a very interesting paper.
Light is a very important cue in synchronizing our internal body clocks and those clocks are key to helping our bodies perform optimally.” So which of us needs to pay attention? How about anyone who stays up late working or even relaxing and then needs the alarm to wake them unwillingly from their sleep in order to face the day? Sleep experts say that unfortunately, we have caveman’s hard-core wiring and that means up with the sun! And if we burn the candle at both ends?
This primitive hardwiring in our bodies reads insufficient sleep as – Danger, store fat!!!!!