Image: Illustration of bed, woman and cat
Carlos Aponte
A mere 30 minutes of morning light can boost mood and energy.
By
updated 2/7/2008 8:12:13 AM ET 2008-02-07T13:12:13

Beam it up!
“Uplight wall sconces direct light up so it reflects down from the ceiling, similar to the way the sky reflects sunlight,” says Matthew Tanteri, adjunct professor at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.

Make a curtain call
Leave your shades open at bedtime, or open them when you first wake up. “Daylight penetrates eyelids to reach the retina, triggering the production of the energizing hormone serotonin,” explains Joan Roberts, Ph.D., chairwoman of the natural sciences department at Fordham University in NYC.

Power down
Switch off your computer and television an hour before you climb into bed, and if you can, keep them out of your bedroom altogether. “TV and computer screens emit blue light, the type of light that suppresses the production of melatonin, a sleep-bringing hormone,” Roberts says.

Clock in
For more energizing light, use a dawn-mimicking alarm clock. The BlueMax Sunrise Simulator ($169, FullSpectrumSolutions.com) has low-energy light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, which are programmed to grow progressively brighter as your wake time nears.

Face the dawn
Situate your bed so that it provides a view through your window. Seeing the sun-splashed outside world cues your brain that it’s time to wake up. Opt for light-colored linens, too. Pale-hued fabrics, woods, walls and flooring reflect more rays than do dark colors, Tanteri explains.

Light the night
Plug in a night-light with a warm-toned red or amber hue; reddish light has longer, less stimulating wavelengths than blue light, so it won’t keep you up. Try Cooper Lighting Circadian Series lights ($60 and up; CooperLighting.com), which come with low-glare LEDs.

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