Study: Increased exposure to daylight helps improve sleep, mood

A new study in sleep research indicates that increasing exposure to daylight has a positive impact on our sleep and our moods. 

Dr. Michael Howell, a sleep expert at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine, says it’s best to get as much sunlight at you can early in the day. And with fall coming, we can compensate for that with better lighting in the home.

"If you wake up before the sun comes up, it's a good idea to get a bright light box…they're the same sort of lights that are used for people with Seasonal Affective Disorder," Dr. Howell said.

Dr. Howell said for some people, getting bright light in the morning for the first 30 minutes of your day can jump-start your body to be awake during the day so it knows when to sleep at night. And for many people, it can make a real difference.

"There are some people who have a dramatic improvement in terms of their sleep at night and the quality of how they feel during the day with getting bright light in the morning. For most of us, it's something in between. You need a little less espresso in the afternoon to keep going, as well as a little bit easier time falling asleep at night."

Dr. Howell also says if you’re having trouble getting to sleep, back off your afternoon coffee to see if that helps, too.