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Could light therapy help you to get up in the morning?

Could light therapy help you to get up in the morning?

Throwing off your cosy covers on chilly mornings so you can sweat it out in the gym can be a pretty hellish routine. Could dawn simulation be a way of becoming that morning person you always wanted to be?

Many of us find it hard to wake up and get going. Others just wake up grumpy, anxious or just feeling generally ‘down’. Using a modern smartphone alarm to startle us from our slumber doesn’t help much either (yes, even if you have selected ‘nature’ noises!)

In fact, according to the journal Chronobiology International, waking up suddenly just isn’t good for us either. Apart from increasing the stress hormone cortisol, it also puts your hormones out of sync and makes you feel generally idle and depressed. Sound familiar?

Dawn simulation

So that’s where dawn simulation steps in.  Similar to using light for treating SAD, it’s a technique that involves using lamps that come on very slowly early in the morning, to mimic a natural sunrise. The intention is to rouse you gently, and leave you feeling refreshed, alert and ready for action!

How does it work?

Being exposed to bright light is a strong signal to your body that it’s time to wake up. Brightening light tells your body to reduce the production of sleep hormones like melatonin, and increase the levels of cortisol which encourage that wide awake feeling.

So what’s the evidence? There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that dawn simulators work. One study also showed that both athletic and mental performance are improved by using dawn simulation. In addition, light therapy is used widely by cyclists, rowers, British swimmers and people suffering from jet lag.

We reckon it sounds great. If you’re not a morning person it might just be worth a try.


the author

Kath Webb

Kath is a contributing writer for Hussle. Football, running, weight training, yoga and walking are her forte, along with cooking tasty, nutritious food - with a regular batch of cake chucked in.