Morning light exposure could help keep you thinner

Good news for early risers! Getting up when the sun does could help keep you healthy and fit.

"According to a study by Northwestern University, people exposed to sunlight in the morning are more lean. Researchers say the earlier people are exposed to light — the lower their body mass index." (Via KVVU)

Sunlight keeping you thin may sound like just another weight loss fad, but there is evidence to back the link up.

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As the Los Angeles Times points out, keeping our internal clock in sync with the natural light-dark cycle can help regulate metabolism, and previous studies have shown morning light can influence the hormones that affect appetite.

"It affects hormones that regulate appetite, it affects hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate the sleep-wake cycle." ​(Via KSEE)

To come to this conclusion, the researchers gathered 54 adults from the Chicagoland area with an average age of 30 to participate in the study. The team had them wear monitors on their wrists that tracked both their light exposure and sleep patterns for a seven day period.

The participants were also required to record what they were eating each day so researchers could estimate their caloric intake. (Via WBRE)

The study's author told NPR, no matter how much the participants ate, slept and exercised or what season it was or how old they were, "We found that the earlier this light exposure occurred during the day, the lower individuals' body mass index. ... We weren't necessarily surprised by the findings."

Medical Daily reports, to reap this health benefit, people should aim to soak up about 20 to 30 minutes of morning light between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon.

Though more research into the subject is needed, the study's authors say light exposure at the right intensity and duration could help prevent and manage obesity in modern societies. The study was published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One.