Getting a healthy dose of sunlight in the morning hours is vital for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm, elevating mood, and ensuring you're getting adequate vitamin D.
In past articles, we have mentioned adding movement and re-mineralization to your morning routine, but there is more you can be doing to optimize the first hours of the day.
Getting a healthy dose of sunshine in the morning hours is vital for many processes and systems for body and mind. There are several health benefits of sun exposure, but for now we'd like to focus on specifically morning exposure as it's part of my morning optimization strategy.
Maintaining a normal circadian rhythm
Enhancing your mood
Getting sufficient vitamin D
Your circadian rhythm is your internal biological clock that organizes internal and external functions and activities around the 24 hour day. A dysregulated circadian rhythm can leave us sleepless and exhausted at the same time, as our bodies are unsure of when it is time to sleep and when they should be awake. Over long periods of time, this can have serious health consequences. So one of the simplest ways to help in the maintenance of your internal clock is your daily dose of rays in the morning.
There is a reason serotonin is commonly referred to as "the feel-good" chemical. Regular sunlight exposure can naturally increase the serotonin levels in your body, making you more active and alert. Serotonin is an important chemical and neurotransmitter in the human body. It is believed to help regulate mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, as well as sexual desire and function.
We can't discuss sunshine without getting into its role in vitamin D production. This is a well known principle in the health and wellness realm, but it's the reason that can’t be overlooked. Studies have shown at least 1,000 different genes that control every tissue in the body are linked to be regulated by vitamin D3.
Vitamin D is produced by the skin's response to UV radiation primarily through sun exposure, which affects 10 percent of the genes in the human body. A healthy supply of vitamin D promotes bone growth and prevents illnesses such as breast and colon cancer, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, seasonal disorders, and depression.
Putting this into practice can have its challenges for us northerners, as most of us (us included) are at work before the sun comes up for many months of the year. Perhaps that's what makes spring and summer such valuable commodities. Cherish the seasons that can get you out early in the fresh air and sunshine. For the other darker months, perhaps a lunchtime walking ritual will help maintain a healthy habit of daily dosing your sunshine.
For those of you who want to nerd out, there are methods of biohacking your UV exposure to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm year round such as a Joovv Light. So no matter your busy schedule or your geographic position, there are ways to optimize your morning sunlight exposure.