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