Making time to step outside in the morning may feel like a luxury, but prioritizing outdoor time can have a positive impact on your entire day. Making sunlight a priority in the morning can trigger a ripple effect that resonates throughout your day. So, let’s explore this phenomenon in detail.
9 potential benefits of sunlight in the morning
Ever wonder why the morning sun feels so good? Well, it turns out that sunlight triggers some benefits that can kickstart your day and last until bedtime. Sunlight in the morning holds several health benefits due to its impact on our body’s internal clock, hormone regulation, and overall mood. Here’s why sunlight is particularly helpful in the morning:
1. Daylight improves nighttime sleep
Those who get a good dose of bright light during the day find it easier to fall asleep at night. Subjects of a study who were exposed to bright lighting not only fell asleep faster but also enjoyed better sleep quality. So, morning sunlight helps set the stage for a restful night’s sleep.
2. Vitamin D production
Vitamin D deficiency is strongly correlated with poor sleep and sleep disorders. Thankfully, vitamin D is produced when you get sun directly on your skin. So, catching those rays (safely) not only boosts your mood but also sets you up for better sleep.
3. Physical activity and cortisol
Getting outside in the morning isn’t just about the light – it’s also about moving your body. Going for a walk or doing some exercise is like giving your body a wake-up call. It boosts cortisol, a natural energy booster. So, not only do you get to enjoy the great outdoors, but you also get a little extra pep in your step!
4. Regulation of circadian rhythm
Exposure to natural sunlight in the morning helps regulate our circadian rhythm, often referred to as the body’s internal clock. Our bodies are naturally synchronized with the rise and fall of the sun. Morning sunlight exposure helps reinforce this synchronization, making it easier to wake up in the morning and feel sleepy at night.
5. Serotonin boost
Exposure to bright morning light stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that contributes to feelings of well-being, happiness, and overall mood. Higher levels of serotonin can help you feel more positive and alert throughout the day.
6. Melatonin regulation
Morning sunlight exposure helps regulate the production of melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleepiness. Natural light exposure in the morning suppresses melatonin production, signaling to your body that it’s time to wake up and be alert.
7. Better sleep patterns
Consistent exposure to morning sunlight can help regulate your sleep patterns and improve the quality of your sleep. By establishing a natural wake-up signal, your body becomes more synchronized with its internal clock, leading to better sleep at night.
8. Enhanced mood and energy
Natural light is a powerful mood enhancer. Morning sunlight exposure triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. This can help you start your day with a positive attitude and a boost of energy.
9. Increased productivity
Exposure to natural light, especially in the morning, has been shown to improve focus, concentration, and overall productivity. This can be especially beneficial if you have tasks or responsibilities that require mental clarity early in the day.
Incorporating morning sunlight into your routine not only benefits your physical health but also positively influences your mental and emotional well-being. Whether it’s a leisurely walk, outdoor exercise, or simply spending time on your porch, taking advantage of the morning sun can set the tone for a productive and uplifting day.
Tips to infuse sunlight into your morning routine
We now know that soaking in the morning sun has a host of benefits, but how can you make it a consistent part of your life? Let’s explore some practical strategies to seamlessly integrate morning sunlight into your daily routine
1. Personalize your schedule
Begin by determining the days when you’ll catch the morning sun. If committing to a daily routine feels overwhelming, don’t stress. Select a few specific days that align with your schedule and energy levels. Remember, flexibility is key. If one day doesn’t work out, you can simply reschedule for another. But try now to go more than two days in a row. This can make it harder to build good habits long-term.
2. Set time and duration
Allocate a specific duration for your outdoor time and establish a fixed starting time. Having a designated time slot makes it easier to follow through. Incorporate your planned sunlit walks into your calendar or planner. Treat them as important appointments that deserve your full attention.
3. Prep the night before
Enhance your chances of success by preparing the night before. Set an alarm for your chosen morning moment, lay out your walking attire, fill your water bottle, and perhaps even pre-pack your breakfast. By streamlining your morning routine, you’re creating a path of least resistance towards embracing the morning sunlight.
4. Dress for any weather
Rain, snow, clouds – don’t let the weather deter you. Equip yourself with appropriate attire for diverse conditions. Remember, even on cloudy days, the sun’s rays carry their benefits. Challenge yourself to view weather variations as opportunities to experience nature in different ways.
5. Share your plan with accountability partners
Accountability can be a powerful motivator. Share your plan with a friend, family member, or a coach who can provide encouragement and support. Knowing that someone is cheering you on can strengthen your commitment to your morning sunlight routine.
With these actionable strategies, you’re well on your way to making morning sunlight an integral part of your morning rituals. Whether it’s a few days a week or more, consistency is the key to reaping the rewards. By setting a dedicated schedule, preparing in advance, and adapting to various weather conditions, you’re not just taking a stroll – you’re gifting yourself a daily dose of revitalization, positivity, and a spirited start to your day.
10 more ways to get sunlight in the morning
Here are 10 additional ways to incorporate sunlight into your morning routine:
- Morning yoga or stretching: Combine the benefits of sunlight and movement with a session of outdoor yoga or stretching. Let the morning sun enhance your flexibility and awaken your senses.
- Breakfast al fresco: Enjoy your breakfast outdoors. Set up a cozy spot on your balcony, patio, or stoop to savor your morning meal while soaking in the natural light.
- Outdoor work or study: If possible, take your work or study materials outside. Set up a comfortable workspace in your garden or a nearby park to infuse your tasks with a touch of sunlight.
- Mindful meditation: Practice mindfulness in the morning sun. Find a peaceful spot outdoors, sit comfortably, and let the warmth of the sun deepen your meditation experience.
- Gardening: If you have a garden, spending time tending to your plants in the morning not only connects you with nature but also allows you to absorb sunlight while you nurture your green companions.
- Morning run or walk: If you’re looking for a more active start, lace up your sneakers and head out for a brisk morning jog or a leisurely walk, all while taking in the sunshine.
- Pet playtime: If you have a furry friend, take them for a morning walk or play fetch outside. It’s a win-win – your pet gets exercise, and you get your dose of sunlight.
- Nature journaling: Combine creativity with outdoor time by keeping a nature journal. Sketch or write about the sights and sounds you experience during your morning outdoor moments.
- Photography excursion: Grab your camera or smartphone and embark on a sunrise photography adventure. Capture the beauty of your surroundings as the morning light paints everything in a warm glow.
- Outdoor reading: Take your morning reading outdoors. Whether it’s a book, a magazine, or the morning news, find a comfortable spot to immerse yourself in words while enjoying the sun.
Remember, the key is to find an activity that resonates with you and easily integrates sunlight into your morning routine. These moments of connection with nature can have a profound impact on your mood, energy levels, and overall well-being.
Morning sunlight FAQs
What does getting sunlight when you wake up do?
Getting sunlight when you wake up, especially in the morning, helps regulate your body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) and offers several benefits:
- Circadian Rhythm: Sunlight resets your body’s sleep-wake cycle, improving sleep quality and daytime alertness.
- Melatonin Control: Morning light reduces melatonin production, making you more awake during the day.
- Serotonin Boost: Sunlight triggers serotonin release, enhancing mood and well-being.
- Vitamin D: Natural light helps your body produce vitamin D, which is crucial for immune and bone health.
- Alertness: Morning light boosts cognitive performance and focus.
- Sleep Patterns: It regulates sleep patterns, aiding better sleep at night.
- Mood Enhancement: Morning sunlight improves mood and reduces depression symptoms.
- Overall Health: Sunlight is linked to various health benefits, though sun safety is crucial.
If natural sunlight is unavailable, light therapy lamps can replicate these effects.
How long should I get sunlight in the morning?
The recommended duration of morning sunlight exposure can vary based on factors such as your location, skin type, and the intensity of sunlight. However, a general guideline is to aim for about 15 to 30 minutes of direct sunlight exposure in the morning.
Can artificial light and blue light wake you up in the morning?
Yes, both artificial light and blue light can wake you up by impacting your circadian rhythm and promoting wakefulness. Here’s how they can be helpful:
However, it’s important to be mindful of a few considerations:
- Timing: Exposure to blue light is most effective in the morning and during the daytime. In the evening, excessive exposure to blue light from screens (such as phones, tablets, and computers) can interfere with the production of melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep.
- Screen Time: If you’re using electronic devices that emit blue light (e.g., smartphones, computers), consider using blue light filters or “night mode” settings in the evening to reduce the impact on your sleep.
- Moderation: While blue light can be beneficial, excessive exposure to bright artificial light, especially blue light, close to bedtime can disrupt your sleep. Aim to gradually reduce light exposure as you approach your bedtime.
Start your day with sunlight
It’s fascinating how something as simple as light can have such a profound impact. Thankfully, incorporating morning sunlight into daily routines can be as simple as stepping outside for a walk, practicing morning stretches, or enjoying breakfast outdoors. So try to add some extra sunlight into your morning routine and see what an impact it has on your day.