What’s one of the easiest, most affordable impacts you can make on your health? Sunlight. Specifically, morning sunlight.
Our current lifestyles are becoming increasingly disconnected from the natural world. From a young age we’re told that the sun is bad and we should cover up as much as possible. We also start and end our days with the blue light from our phones and don’t prioritize our time away from it.
But little do most people know is that avoiding the sun is not the answer – it’s actually a step further away from optimal health. This is because our bodily functions are wired around our circadian rhythm, which is triggered by morning sunlight. Exposing ourselves to sunlight within an hour of waking up plays a critical role in hormone development, immune system function and even the quality of sleep we get at night. benefits of morning sun benefits of morning sun
Here’s 5 benefits of morning sun and how to make the most of it.
1. It Boosts Vitamin D LevelsBENEFITS OF MORNING SUN
Morning sun exposure is a simple and effective way to boost your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, among other things, and research has shown that exposure to morning sunlight can help increase vitamin D production, particularly during the winter months (1).
2. Improves Sleep Quality
Morning sun exposure has been shown to improve sleep quality by helping regulate our natural sleep-wake cycle. Exposure to sunlight in the morning helps reset our internal clock, making it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up feeling refreshed in the morning (2). benefits of morning sun
3. It improves Mood
Sun exposure has been linked to improved mood and reduced symptoms of depression. This is because sunlight helps stimulate the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and promote feelings of well-being (3).
4. It stimulates the growth and repair of mitochondria
Exposure to morning sunlight can increase the production of cytochrome c oxidase, an enzyme that is crucial for mitochondrial energy production (4). In addition, natural sunlight exposure has been shown to stimulate the growth and repair of mitochondria, which can improve overall cellular function and health. benefits of morning sun
5. Boosts Immune System Function
Sun exposure has also been shown to boost immune system function by stimulating the production of white blood cells. This helps our bodies fight off infections and disease (5).
How to make the most of morning sun exposure
Do it within the first hour of waking. Whether it’s taking your dog for a walk, or simply opening your window to let the fresh air and light in. Early light is what will kickstart your circadian rhythm.
Try it without sunglasses. No need to look straight into the sun (please, don’t) but wearing sunglasses limits your exposure to the colors and wavelengths that trigger these health benefits. benefits of morning sun
Do it without any electronics. Take the time to connect to nature and be present to set the tone for your day. benefits of morning sun
Don’t rely on the sun that comes through your windows – get outside. Windows actually filter out nearly half of the beneficial rays. benefits of morning sun
If you don’t have much sun where you live, get a lamp. Sun lamps are great, affordable option if you have limited sun exposure where you live.
- Wortsman, J., Matsuoka, L. Y., Chen, T. C., Lu, Z., & Holick, M. F. (2000). Decreased bioavailability of vitamin D in obesity. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 72(3), 690-693.
- Reid, K. J., & Zee, P. C. (2009). Circadian rhythm disorders. Seminars in neurology, 29(4), 393-405.
- Lambert, G. W., Reid, C., Kaye, D. M., Jennings, G. L., & Esler, M. D. (2002). Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain. The Lancet, 360(9348), 1840-1842.
- Hamblin, M. R. (2016). Shining light on the head: Photobiomodulation for brain disorders. BBA Clinical, 6, 113-124.
- Holick, M. F. (2003). Vitamin D: a millenium perspective. Journal of cellular biochemistry, 88(2), 296-307.