Association of morning illumination and window covering with mood and sleep among post-menopausal women

Shawn D. Youngstedt, Amy Leung, Daniel F. Kripke, Robert D. Langer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The antidepressant and sleep-promoting effects of light exposure might be useful for treating age-related mood and sleep disorders. In view of recent evidence suggesting beneficial effects of morning light, this study examined the associations of mood and sleep with morning light exposure, 24 h environmental illumination, and the degree to which the volunteers' bedroom windows were covered in the morning. We examined 459 postmenopausal women participating an ancillary study of the Women's Health Initiative conducted at the University of California, San Diego Clinical Center, San Diego, CA, USA. At baseline, volunteers completed a 4-week sleep-recall questionnaire. Volunteers were then assessed for 5-7 days in their home environments with actigraphic wrist monitors. During home recording, self-reported mood was assessed. Morning illumination during the first 4 h after arising, 24-h illumination mesor (cosine-fitted mean), and illumination acrophase (cosine-fitted peak time) were calculated. Sleep was scored each night using validated wrist actigraphic methods. A sleep diary was completed each morning. During two 24-h periods, urine was collected approximately every 2 h during wakefulness and following any voidings during the sleep period. Cosine-fitting established the acrophase of urinary 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (aMT6s) excretion. Morning illumination and 24-h illumination were modestly associated with better mood and sleep. Associations of light with mood and sleep were consistently greater for subjects whose body clocks were delayed relative to the group median. Less morning window covering in the subjects' bedrooms was associated with more morning light and less depressed mood. The results suggest that both morning and 24-h light exposure may be beneficial for older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-183
Number of pages10
JournalSleep and Biological Rhythms
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Actigraphy
  • Bright light
  • Circadian phase
  • Older adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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