Could the key to a lower body mass index (BMI) really be as easy as basking in the morning sunlight?
According to new research from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, yes.
The study found that people who got most of their exposure to sun in the morning hours had a noticeably lower BMI than those who got their exposure in the afternoon.
“The earlier this light exposure occurred during the day, the lower individuals’ body mass index,” said co-lead author Kathryn Reid, research associate professor of neurology at the University.
A total of 56 individuals participated in the study which monitored their exposure to light and tracked sleep behaviors through an activity wristband and required that participants keep diaries of their caloric intakes.
Overall, the study found that exposure to the sun's bright morning light accounted for 20-percent of a person's BMI --a percentage that was independent of a person's activity level or dietary behaviors.
Study senior author Dr. Phyllis C. Zee said that light is the most powerful factor in regulating your body's internal clock and energy levels, adding, “The message is that you should get more bright light between 8 a.m. and noon.”
According to the study, about 20-30 minutes of morning sunlight should be enough to affect your BMI.
So, if sitting outside for a while each morning is going to help improve our health, we vote to move our office outside!
What time of day do you spend the most time in the sun? Let us know in the comments field below.