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How to lose weight without dieting – step into morning light
The alarm sounds in the morning………………
You’re not one of the those people who springs out of bed, rips open the curtains to let the sunshine in and then beams happiness to all you meet.
You wake up slowly. You prefer to stumble around in the semi-dark, delaying opening the curtains or switching on the light, because you want to delay the OFFICIAL START of your day. The half light feels comforting. You cling to the shadows, keeping the light levels low as long as possible.
Bright light feels like the enemy……
Researchers from Northwestern University have discovered the “skinny”, tend to start their day BRIGHTLY, so it might be time to rethink the idea, that BRIGHT LIGHT early in the day is the ENEMY.
Stepping into the LIGHT
The Northwestern team strapped a fancy wrist actigraph onto the wrists of 54 ordinary people, for a week. The actigraph was able to measure how much light the person was exposed to, while at the same time, keeping tabs on what they were up to. The team used this actigraph data to build a picture of each participants “normal” sleep and light exposures.
The actigraph data was then correlated with the participant’s BMI, a measure of their weight.
So what did they find ?
Shedding light on “the enemy”
It turns out, a dose of bright light, early in the day, might be just what you need to be lighter on your toes. The team discovered, folks who got a dose of bright light early in the day, had significantly lower BMI’s, than the folks who got most of their light exposure, later in the day.
Relax, don’t let the EARLY scare you.
You don’t need BRIGHT light that EARLY, many of the participants in this study were not early risers. The cut off for EARLY light is quite civilized, the team considered early light, anything before noon.
The light exposure also needn’t be long and protracted, the team found a 20 to 30 minute session was all that it took to see the BMI benefits, as long as the light was BRIGHT i.e. more than 500 lux.
These moments of BRIGHTNESS, help keep the extra kilograms at bay.
The morning light effect was ALWAYS there.
Even when the team considered all the usual suspects, for increased BMI, such as
- Levels of physical activity
- Amount of calories consumed
- Sleep duration
Morning light exposure MATTERED !
When the team crunched the numbers, they found the mean light timing (MiLT) accounted for 34.7 % of the variation seen between people’s weight. 34.7 % – that’s a lot.
Why does morning light matter ?
Light is known to set your internal body clock. And your body clock runs your metabolism. Especially the parts of your metabolism that handle fat burning.
You’re programmed to store fat during the day and burn fat at night, this is why getting enough sleep is imperative, for any weight loss programme.
Light is the signal that changes which set of enzymes are on duty. Exposure to bright light early in the morning, ensures there is absolutely no confusion as to which shift should be on duty.
So, is you’re weight watching you MUST…..
Turn on the light EARLY
The magic number you must be exposed to early in the morning is at least 500 lux. It doesn’t sound like a lot, considering that even on a cloudy day, you get 1000 lux of brightness if you go outside.
But you need to go outside………….
Most indoor environments only register 200 to 300 lux. Of course, corner offices are better than basements and performing under a spot light, will be more illuminating.
Stepping into the light
There is more to weight loss than eating less and moving more. Synchronizing your body clock with your schedule is important.
- You want to switch off the lights and the computer at night, so your night valet comes on duty, ushering in a good night’s sleep.
- You need to get your quota. Adults need between 6-8 hours of sleep a night !
- Sticking to your quota, is not enough, you don’t want to let you fat cells lie in either.
And… when you get up. Make sure you look into a BRIGHT LIGHT for at least 20 to 30 minutes each morning.
The darkness of the “night” has been displaced by “the light”. So what happens if you stick a couple of mice into this lighted paradise. Well in a simple word – OBESITY !
The continuous low lighting typical of the convalescent’s room, is hastening their demise, not facilitating their healing.
Camping trips in the wilderness, sanctioned by your doctor and paid for by your medical aid……………………the future of sleep medicine ?