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The Simple Thing You Can Do in the Morning to Help You Lose Weight
You are probably familiar with the expression, “rise and shine.” Now, scientific evidence is taking this expression to a new level by suggesting that morning sun exposure can help individuals lose weight. Let’s explore the study findings.
About the Study
In a study recently conducted by the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in the United States, researchers explored how getting morning sun exposure affects weight loss efforts. The findings from the study were published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS ONE.
Fifty-four study participants, at an average age of 30 years old, wore wrist monitors that tracked their exposure to sunshine in the mornings, for seven consecutive days. The participants also kept food journals in which they recorded what they ate and how many calories they consumed each day.
The results from the study showed that the participants who were exposed to more sunlight in the morning had lower BMIs (body mass indexes) than the individuals who got less exposure to sunlight in the a.m., regardless of age, activity levels or the foods they ate.
The Correlation Between Morning Light and Weight Loss
The researchers pointed to two possible reasons that individuals who got more morning sunlight exposure had lower BMIs than those who got less.
The first explanation is that being exposed to sunlight during the morning, instead of later in the day, helps synchronize your internal clock. This, in turn, contributes to a steady, healthy sleep cycle. In addition, there is a proven link between getting a good night’s sleep and maintaining a healthy weight. One reason this is true is that getting at least seven hours of sleep each night helps regulate the hormones that cause the sensation of hunger and helps individuals stay focused and preserve their willpower, so they make healthier food choices throughout the day.
The second reason that morning sunlight exposure might help individuals lose weight is related to the first reason: Morning sunlight has a larger amount of blue light; and blue light has the strongest effect on the body’s circadian rhythm, which, again, helps regulate physiological functions, including metabolism, allowing them to work as efficiently as possible during every 24-hour cycle.
How Much Sunlight Should You Get in the A.M.?
For the sun to have the desired effect on your body’s circadian rhythm, and therefore on your efforts to lose weight, you need about 20 to 30 minutes of sun exposure between 8 a.m. and noon. You can compound the positive effects of morning sun exposure on weight loss efforts by exercising outside in the morning. This activates your metabolism earlier in the day so you burn more calories over the course of the day, and might motivate you to make healthier food choices throughout the day. If you cannot get a morning workout in, try to save a bit of time in the a.m. to enjoy a healthy breakfast or your cup of coffee outside. Make sure your face is pointing toward the sun. Your figure will thank you.