Sunlight -- How To Reset Your Circadian Rhythm, Boost Happiness, & Balance Your Hormones!Sep 24, 2021
Did you know that sunlight is medicine?
It is a very easy, very free, very effective tool in the hormone-healing toolbox.
Once you understand the importance of sunlight, you won’t want to go a day without it!
First lets talk about what this has to do with your hormones. Enter —
The Circadian Rhythm
Our circadian rhythm is the rhythm that lives inside each and everyone of us, that regulates our daily bodily processes like digestion, body temperature, metabolism, sleep, elimination, and the production of some hormones. Your circadian rhythm causes cortisol to spike in the morning to give you loads of energy to take on your day, boosting your alertness in the late morning, and then melatonin gets secreted around 9pm to help you wind down for sleep.
The exposure to the natural light and dark cycles of any given day gives our systems the cues necessary to reset our internal clock. It helps determine the quality of our sleep and affects us down to the cellular level. We need the sun’s light in the day to be alert and active, and we need darkness to initiate our brain’s sleep mode.
Your daily light-dark rhythm begins every morning when you first wake up, see the sun, and you initiated a process called “entrainment”. Every single day your circadian clock or circadian rhythm needs to be entrained, or set to earth’s 24-hour day. Otherwise it drifts out of sync.
Our modern world has made staying in sync with the natural, normal ebb and flow of our circadian rhythm very challenging. We live in a time where we are inundated with artificial light all day during the day, and also well into the evening long after the sun sets, thanks to things like smart phones, laptops, TVs, kindles, ipads, you get the picture.
LIVING OUT OF SYNC WITH OUR CIRCADIAN RHYTHM HAS BEEN LINKED TO PHYSICAL, MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, AND COGNITIVE ISSUES
Conditions linked to a circadian rhythm disruption:
Inflammatory bowel disease
Reduced cognitive function
Simply getting outside in the sun hits the reset button on your circadian rhythm. That’s literally all it takes! And yes you can still do this even on a cloudy day. No excuses to anyone not living in sunny California :)
Benefits of Morning Sun
increases insulin sensitivity
Improves mood disorders
Helps you fall asleep easier at night
Super charges our mitochondria
Mitochondria are found in every cell of the body. It’s literally like changing the batteries on your worn out cells. Or like plugging in your dead cell phone after two days of nonstop use. Nothing in life is meant to go on and on and on forever. Eventually everything tuckers out… and it needs to be recharged. This is what the sunlight does for your cells and the mitochondria within your cells.
The photoreceptors on your mitochondria gobble up the photons from the light, and in response to those light photons, your mitochondria produce more energy, and they do so more efficiently. As an extension, your other cells will work better when the mitochondria produce more energy.
MORNING SUN IS ONE OF THE SIMPLEST AND MOST EFFECTIVE WAYS TO RE-ESTABLISH HORMONE BALANCE BECAUSE IT KICKSTARTS YOUR NORMAL, NATURAL RHYTHMS
Ways To Get More Sun
Get outside for 20-30 minutes in the morning
Preferably before 10am. Don’t wear sunglasses, because the sun needs to directly hit your retina. Now don’t go looking straight at the sun, that’s not safe and will definitely hurt. Just walk around outside without your sunnies on and you should be fine.
Combine your morning sun with something you already do
Like your breakfast, or a cup of tea, or morning journaling. Or if you’re like me and make most of your phone calls in the morning, combine a phone call with a walk with your morning sun so you’re getting a huge bang for your buck!
Get outside even on cloudy days
You still receive all the benefits of sunlight even when there is a cloud cover.
Allow the sun to touch your skin
This increases your body’s production of vitamin D, nitric oxide and other antioxidants. And morning sun is not as intense as mid-day sun, so 20ish minutes of morning sun on your skin will not harm you. There is actually a lot of benefit in sunlight touching the skin.
As if you needed more reasons for why morning sun is so important::
PEOPLE WHO GET MORNING SUN ARE 50% LESS LIKELY TO EXPERIENCE MOOD DISORDERS THAN PEOPLE WHO DON’T GET MORNING SUN
PEOPLE WHO GET MORNING SUN ALSO EXPERIENCE INCREASED ALERTNESS DURING THEIR DAYS
"Sunlight induces coordinated endocrine adaptation effects. It affects sympathetic and parasympathetic activity, and is a major circadian and seasonal stimulus for the body clock … Our system, via the eyes and via the skin, detects the colors of the light in the environment in order to adapt the hormonal system to the specific needs of the time and place.”
— Alexander Wunsch, expert in photobiology
Don’t skip your morning sun! Its a lovely way to start your day, and you will notice a shift in your energy quicker than you realize! And we can all use an extra dose of natural vitamin D!
Tell me in the comments — have you noticed a difference in your moods/menstrual cycle/energy levels/sleep since prioritizing your morning sun?!