We evolved under the light of our solar-system’s star & the sequence of day and night, so the latest research confirming that humans, like many other forms of life, are programmed to respond to changes in light levels is no great shock.
Our use of the electric lights could be contributing to our increasing problems with stress and rising levels of obesity.
Not only do we need sunlight to produce vitamin D, but exposure to light regulates hormone levels, dictating your body’s natural rhythms, influencing the times that you feel active and awake, when you feel hungry and even holding sway over your sex life!
These changes are primarily the result of melatonin, which is a hormone produced when our brains detect decreasing amounts of light being picked up by our eyes.
Melatonin is a key antioxidant which works with our immune system to improve our natural defences. It also plays a huge part in regulating our sleep cycles, acting to cause drowsiness and lower our metabolism. This means that when we’re in the dark we’re more likely to feel sleepy.
Melatonin also controls levels of another hormone; leptin, which is largely responsible for us feeling hungry; high levels of leptin supress our appetite. Melatonin suppresses leptin production, which can lead to late-night snacking! But altering leptin levels is important. It has been noted that obese people have unfailingly high leptin in their systems. Current theories suggest those people are almost impervious to leptin’s effects, meaning they don’t know when they’re full. A proper fluctuation in leptin levels caused by regular melatonin production should help prevent us becoming desensitised to the hormone and the messages our bodies try to send us.
So, changing light levels help us to sleep, can stop us from becoming fat, and it regulates our sex hormones.
During the evening is traditionally when couples get to be alone together and share some intimate moments, but it’s not good timing from hormonal point of view. And by the time the sun goes down, many people are drained by the stresses and strains of living their daily lives. The fact is that during any passionate activity during the night, you’re unlikely to be performing at your best.
Research indicates that our hormone levels are usually their highest just as the sun rises. Getting some light at this time should suppress your melatonin production, leading to a higher sexual appetite. So try getting an early night, set the alarm clock an hour early, and open up the blinds in your bedroom early in the morning to let the sun in! See if it makes a difference for you!
About the Author
James Armstrong is an experienced journalist and broadcaster currently writing on behalf of Vertical Blinds Direct.
*Image by Sean MacEntree.*