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for Monday, 25 March 2019

Your brain on sunshine?

For better memory, let there be light!

Most of us need to get out more. Not out to dinner or to the movies, necessarily, but outside. Too much time spent indoors, with typical dim lighting, may hurt your ability to remember and learn, according to a new study on animals. For four weeks, one group of rats spent their waking hours in dim light, while another experienced bright light. The group exposed to dim light did poorly on a “spatial memory” task — similar to having a hard time remembering where you parked your car at the mall. The animals exposed to bright light did well on the test. Researchers also found that for the rats in the dim-light environment, the hippocampus (an area important for learning and memory) had lost about 30 percent of its capacity during the four-week study. On the, ahem, bright side, these animals recovered when they were later exposed to bright light for several weeks. Of course, rats are not people (and even your least favorite people aren’t rats!), and research on humans is needed. But there’s already evidence that getting enough natural light during the day, especially in the morning, can improve sleep, mood, work performance, and well-being. Get outside in the morning for a walk, work near windows if you can, and spend time outside on sunny weekend days. You may feel better — and be better able to find your keys!
Source: Dim Light Makes Us Dumber, New Study Suggests

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Last updated: 25 March 2019

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