A study from the Northwestern University reports that the timing, intensity and duration of light exposure during the day are linked to body weight.

People who had most of their daily exposure to even moderately bright light in the morning had a significantly lower body mass index than those who had most of their light exposure later in the day. “The earlier this light exposure occurred during the day, the lower individuals’ BMI,” said co–lead author Kathryn Reid, research associate professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The later the hour of moderately bright light exposure, the higher a person’s BMI.”

The influence of morning light exposure on body weight was independent of an individual’s physical activity level, caloric intake, sleep timing, age or season. It accounted for about 20% of a person’s BMI.

“Light is the most potent agent to synchronize your internal body clock that regulates circadian rhythms, which in turn also regulate energy balance,” said study senior author Phyllis C. Zee, M.D. “The message is that you should get more bright light between 8 a.m. and noon.” About 20 to 30 minutes of morning light is enough to affect BMI. (Science Daily)