“Intensity does matter,” she said. Your soft bedroom lighting is unlikely to do the trick. Most studies suggest that 10,000 lux — which a good light therapy lamp can deliver — is enough to help shift your circadian rhythm. Some suggest it can go as low as 2,000, however, which is about the same as two 100-watt bulbs.
dr Fenn is working on a study to test the effects of light therapy using glasses that shoot light directly into participants’ eyes as they go about their morning routines. There’s limited data on these specific glasses, but she believes they may have the same effect as other forms of light therapy.
Work backwards. make your plan
First, you need to figure out how exercise will fit into your mornings. Think about your morning deadline, or the time of your earliest immovable obligation, such as driving your kids to school or arriving at the office, and work backward.
Avoid distractions that can slow you down, like checking your email right when you wake up. Try laying your exercise clothes out the night before to save time.
Once you identify your morning deadline, you can consider your preference. For example, Dr. Friel has to help his kids get ready for school at 6:45 am In the summer, he said, he exercises at 5:30 am, before they wake up, but in the winter, when it’s darker and colder, he waits until the kids are on their way.
Choose a realistic goal and anticipate obstacles.
Once you’ve got a plan and a schedule that makes sense, it’s time to think of what else might get in the way. For example, if you’re planning to run outside at 6 am in January, you may need to make sure you have warm, reflective running clothes.
It’s also important to have a “no judgment approach,” Dr. Friel said. He suggested avoiding performance-based goals when you’re first starting out. If you’re running, don’t worry about speed or distance. Instead, just try to get in the habit of jogging for 30 or 40 minutes in the morning.