For many people, getting up early to exercise is a challenge, and training in the winter months is much more difficult than at other times of the year. Difficulty getting going in the morning can be caused by our body clock, the internal daily rhythm that tells the body when to sleep and wake up. Finding exercise harder in winter is partly down to the lack of bright light, affecting energy levels and mood.
For professional athletes, a misaligned body clock and lower energy do not only disrupt training. It is thought that they can also play a key role in performances in sporting events. Many world records in sport are broken in the late afternoon or early evening, when several body functions peak. Endurance events are easier in the morning, when the body temperature is lower. Competing at the right point in the athlete’s circadian cycle, the daily rhythm in their body, may be a factor in how well they perform. How quickly they adjust to jet lag is also a factor in overseas events.
Maximising sports performance with light therapy
The most effective intervention for shifting the body clock is bright light. Bright light in the morning and evening influences the production of hormones responsible for sleep and wakefulness. Waking to light by using Bodyclock will help you to feel more refreshed and motivated for training, and reset your internal rhythm to make sleeping and waking easier in the coming days. Exposure to a lightbox at any time of day can give an instant boost to energy and mood.
For professional sports men and women, lightboxes can speed the recovery from jet lag symptoms, give a boost in motivation and energy for training, and stimulate wakefulness at key times to improve performance.
Light therapy has the advantage of being safe, drug-free and easy to self-administer.