Does your libido need a boost? Italians propose a simple life-hack: bright light.

At a 2003 medical science conference held in Vienna, Italian scientists presented research on the effects of morning sunlight on 38 men aged 19 to 30. The men all reported a decline or lack of interest in sexual desire.

High dose of light

Half of the group received a high dose of light. For 30 minutes each morning these men sat in front of a special daylight lamp with an intensity of 10,000 lux; the other half received placebo levels of light of a significantly lower intensity. By comparison: direct sunlight can reach up to 100,000 lux, while a cloudy day gives about 1,000 lux.

Threefold boost in sexual satisfaction

After two weeks, the men exposed to bright light reported scores of sexual satisfaction that were three times higher than when they had started the experiment. The men in the control group reported only minimal improvements. The light therapy group also demonstrated a significant increase in their testosterone levels, which is normally a vitally important factor in libido endocrinology.

Results of the study

The researchers explained their results in a press release: "In the northern hemisphere testosterone production in the body decreases naturally from November to April, and rises steadily in spring and summer, with a peak in October. You can see the effect on reproduction, with the month of June as peak month. The light box mimics the natural seasonal fluctuations."

The researchers repeated the experiment in 2013, observing the same promising results.

Simple and effective solution

This apparently simple solution draws attention to one of the major deficiencies in our daily lives: direct exposure to natural bright light. Light is such an important conductor of our biorhythms and hormone production that it even can effectively increase libido levels.

Dopamine involvement

A central player here is the neurotransmitter dopamine. Normally a natural morning dopamine boost under influence of bright light propels the body into action. A lack of sunlight can lead to dopamine depletion. Sunlight is important for you at any time of day but extremely so in the morning; indeed, immediately after getting up is the most critical timeslot.

Only 60 minutes per day

Self-therapy is an interesting option in view of effectiveness, accessibility, excellent safety profile and favorable cost/benefit ratio. Aim for at least 60 minutes of exposure per day. If this proves impractical: a light bulb is a good second option. You would easily be able to fit this into your daily routine by taking a walk at least 30 minutes before breakfast. A cup of coffee, taken in advance, enhances the effect!

Production of Melatonin

With adequate bright light you stop the production of melatonin. This causes all circadian processes in the body to click into proper phase. The result is you feeling energetic, clear-minded and well. The testosterone increase the Italian researchers noticed is directly linked to the increase of dopamine.
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