Open Your Shades As Soon As You Wake Up

When it takes three hits of the snooze buttonto get out of bed, you might feel like headingstraight for the coffeepot, but try raising your blinds first.Natural light is an important cue for your internal clock,the mechanism in your brain that tells you when to doeverything from sleeping to eating. And research showsthat early-morning exposure to the sun's rays helpsset that clock, making you more alert, increasing yourenergy throughout the day, and even boosting yourmetabolism. This becomes more important inwinter: "Fewer daylight hours can make you feel moresluggish and may increase feelings of sadness orseasonal depression," says Michael Terman, Ph.D.,director of the Center for Light Treatment at ColumbiaUniversity Medical Center. If there aren't many rayscreeping into your room, turn on a white fluorescentlamp and you'll be ready to face the day and the season.

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