Natural light may be key to improve sleep and mood

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In a new study from Monash University, researchers found that getting enough natural sunlight each day can impact a person’s mood and sleep quality.

They examined more than 400,000 participants in the UK Biobank program and found that a lack of daytime light exposure was a risk factor for depressive symptoms, poor mood, and insomnia.

Most messaging around light and health is focused on avoiding light at night, as it disrupts our body clocks, but this study highlights the importance of getting enough daylight to ensure our bodies function optimally.

In this study, the team observed that the greater time spent in outdoor light during the day was associated with fewer depressive symptoms, lower odds of using antidepressant medication, better sleep and fewer symptoms of insomnia.

These results may be explained by the impacts of light on the circadian system and the direct effects of light on mood centers in the brain.

The team says making minor adjustments to a person’s daily routine could help improve their mood, sleep, and energy levels.

People now spend most waking hours in intermediate, artificial lighting conditions, due to reduced sunlight exposure and relatively bright night-time light exposure.

Insufficient exposure to daytime light could be a key factor contributing to poor mood and sleep outcomes in depressive disorders.

Their general advice for everyone is simple: When the sun is out, get as much light as you can, but after it sets, keep it dark. Your body will thank you.

If you care about sleep health, please read studies about this sleep issue may strongly harm your heart and findings of this sleep supplement may help prevent memory loss, cognitive decline.

For more information about sleep and your wellness, please see recent studies about this common sleep problem linked to increased risk of death and results showing that treating this sleep problem may reduce dementia risk.

The study is published in the Journal of Affective Disorders. One author of the study is Angus Burns.

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