Getting delicious sunlight in the morning gives us amazing health benefits. Now that it is winter time with shorter days and longer nights, taking the opportunity to get delicious sunlight, especially in the morning will benefit your body mind and spirit. Here are 5 reasons why.
5 Benefits of Sitting in the Sun Each Morning
Getting sunlight, especially in the morning as soon as you wake up, helps regulate your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) and offers several health benefits. If you can watch the sunrise that’s even better. (1)
1. Balances Your Circadian Rhythm
Exposing your eyes, body and face to morning sunlight keeps your circadian rhythm in balance or helps reset it when out of balance. It prepares your body for the cycle of your day ahead; time for activity, time for sleep, and times to eat. It influences important functions in your body, such as: hormone release, eating habits and digestion.
2. Improves Sleep
When you are exposed to sunlight in the morning your nocturnal melatonin production improves and you enter into sleep more easily at night. It also helps you sleep better through the night.
When you expose your eyes, body and face to morning sunlight, your body naturally increases serotonin. Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin, the hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. Morning sunlight provides the raw materials your body needs to make the melatonin needed to sleep at the end of the day.
If you have children or grandchildren getting them outside before noon helps improve their sleep at night.
3. Produces Vitamin D
Natural morning light helps your body produce vitamin D, which is crucial for immune and bone health.
Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. During exposure to sunlight our skin absorbs UV B radiation which is converted to vitamin D3. Unfortunately it does not happen through a window, you have to be outside for this one. I like to go for a walk in the morning, even when it’s cold to get my face in the sun.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bone. Studies show vitamin D can help control infections and reduce inflammation.
4. Serotonin Boost
Morning sunlight improves mood by releasing serotonin, a chemical that enhances your feeling of well-being. This hormone is known for elevating your mood, creating calmness, and increasing focus. You’ll be in a better mood all day.
5. Increases Alertness
Morning light boosts cognitive performance and focus.
The way it works is sunlight sends a “wakeup” signal to the pituitary gland telling your body to suppress melatonin production and increase cortisol production (which is good for you in healthy amounts). It increases serotonin making you more awake during the day.
How To Get The Benefits of Sunlight In The Morning
Aim for 15-30 minutes a day of sunlight on your eyes, face and body to receive the benefits.
- Sit in the sun by a window or outside while meditating or doing morning yoga.
- Sit by a window or outside while drinking your morning coffee or tea.
- If possible, keep your shades open and let the sun shine in through your window to wake you up.
- Cloudy days are just as good for soaking up the sun, stay in the light just a bit longer.
This time of year I sit in front of a window which gives all the benefits except vitamin D production. The glass absorbs all of the ultraviolet B rays that stimulate Vitamin D production. When possible I go out for a walk in the morning even if it’s cold. I also take a vitamin D supplement.
I clearly notice the beneficial effects of sunlight exposure; improvements in my health, mood and sleep. Sleeping better when I spend time in the sun helps me stay motivated to go outside especially on cold, wet, dreary winter days when I’d rather stay inside.
Give it a try and see how you feel. Let me know in the comments below.