Morning Sunlight: Why It’s So Important

In many ancient cultures, the sun was seen as the giver of life. And indeed, if we truly stop to think about what keeps us vibrant and, well … living, it’s the sun!

Without it, nothing on the planet would grow, much less survive.

This is why we want to take a moment and really dive in to the massive, underrated benefits of sun exposure – specifically morning sunlight exposure.

Believe it or not, 30-50% of adults are actually deficient in vitamin D, the major vitamin we synthesize from sunlight. Not only is this correlated with a tremendous amount of health problems, including symptoms of insomnia, joint pain, heart issues, depression, and more … but getting an adequate dosage of morning sunlight can actually help improve these issues, while providing additional benefits!

Read on to see why soaking in the morning sun is one of the best health practices you can add to your day.

The Benefits Of Morning Sunlight Exposure

1. Wakes You Up In The Morning And Makes It Easier For You To Fall Asleep At Night

Sunlight is the major regulator of our circadian rhythms, or sleep-and-wake cycles. At night when it gets dark, our bodies begin producing the hormone melatonin, which helps us feel sleepy. Getting morning sun can optimize this melatonin production by telling our bodies what time of day it is, so that it can produce the correct hormones at the correct times.

Research shows that because of this, getting morning sunlight can indeed help you sleep better.

2. May Boost Mood

Aside from the mood boost that comes with simply being on vacation, there may actually a hormonal reason why bright, sunny summer days and tropical locations are associated with happiness. Exposure to sunlight can increase the production of serotonin in our brain, which is associated with a positive mood and a feeling of calm.

Interestingly, not enough sun exposure can reduce serotonin levels … and low serotonin levels have been associated with a higher risk of major depression.

Not to mention, sunlight is our optimal source of vitamin D, and studies have shown that vitamin D can also significantly improve symptoms of depression.

3. May Help With Joint Pain

This one is linked to sunlight in general (not specifically morning sunlight). Several studies have found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with joint pain: even Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Sunlight is one of the best ways for us to keep our vitamin D levels up, so getting a dose each morning can’t hurt if you’re experiencing any type of joint pain.

4. May Reduce Stress

Starting your day off with sunlight can also help reduce stress.

Studies show that vitamin D can significantly reduce cortisol levels, the hormone that is elevated during stress. Aside from helping relax our body and mind, reducing elevated cortisol levels can have positive beneficial effects far into the future, such as lowering blood sugar levels, reducing risk of heart issues, and even improving fat loss.

Other studies have also shown that melatonin can play a big role in stress reduction – another incentive to optimize your body’s production.

5. May Help With Weight Loss

It’s true: a recent study showed that people who get sunlight earlier in the day have a lower body mass index (BMI). This could be due to overall improved sleep thanks to the extra sunlight (and better sleep is associated with a better BMI), as well as reduced cortisol levels (which is also linked to less body fat).

How To Get Morning Sunlight

The best way to get your morning sun is to *drumroll* … go outside in the morning!

Okay, okay, we know that, right? So, when it comes to the details, it’s truly up to you. You can get into the habit of having your coffee on the porch if enough sunlight filters into the area, or get in some barefoot grounding time (you won’t believe the benefits – check it out!) in your back yard.

The keys to a successful sunlight session are:

• Make sure your bare skin is getting exposed. Wear short sleeves and shorts.

• Get direct morning sun; not sunlight through a window.

• Try to get sunlight very soon after you wake up (aka: enter the coffee outside idea)

Now, don’t worry if you don’t get sunlight in the morning in your area (say, if buildings or trees are blocking it) – simply try to get sunlight when you can throughout your day! The key is to not make getting enough sunlight a stressful task, but to get it and make time for it when it’s available.

If you can only get sunlight in the peak hours, especially during summer, remember that it doesn’t take a long time in southern latitudes to get enough: 5-10 minutes will do, with a little longer in northern areas.

 

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