Boost Your Alertness.. with Light!

An increase in ambient light in the morning can set you up for a more alert afternoon! These are the results of a Belgium study.

Bright Idea: Sunlight Curbs Afternoon Drowsiness

“Letting in a little extra light throughout the day may do more than just lift your spirits. It could make you more alert and help you avoid an afternoon energy slump. Ambient light influences brain functions and different aspects of human physiology such as circadian rhythm, heart rate, and hormone release. While these functions have been recognized and studies have looked at the part of the brain that induces these responses at nighttime, little has been known about daytime responses to light. But Gilles Vandewalle of the University of Liege, Belgium, and colleagues wanted to see if light exposure has similar effects on brain function during the day, when we are naturally exposed to light. The researchers exposed a group of people to 21 minutes of bright white light in the morning while they imaged their brains. Not only were the participants more alert, but responses in certain parts of their brain also got a boost. This boost was correlated with regions of the brain that are involved in alertness and some cognitive processes and can briefly prevent the sleepiness developed in continuous darkness, the researchers report in the Aug. 22 issue of the journal Current Biology.”

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