(Haleakala National Park, Maui Hawaii Nov 2019)
Did you know that one of the EASIEST ways to reset your circadian rhythm is by getting outside in the morning? It’s free too! Who doesn’t love free things that actually work?!
Our circadian rhythms become wonky for all kinds of reasons including:
Hypothalamus-pituitary axis dysfunction
Poor sleep hygiene
Shift work (talking to you, night shifters!)
Blue light exposure all day and into the evening
Sunlight in our eyes gives us a cortisol boost. Yes, a little cortisol in the morning is a normal adrenal response and is important for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm. Too much cortisol is definitely a problem, however we do need some, and in the right amounts throughout the day.
So what’s supposed to happen is our adrenal glands begin secreting cortisol about 5-6am and our levels gradually continue to rise throughout the morning. This is what gives us the urge to wake up.
When your cortisol is secreted in normal amounts at the correct times, you feel bright eyed and bushy tailed. You feel ready for the day and find that your energy levels are high.
Have you ever felt like you are super sluggish in the morning and absolutely need your morning coffee to get going, all to feel up and down with your energy all day and sooo ready for sleep at night when you SHOULD be sharp and on and here for all the things throughout your day … and then you get in bed and you can’t fall asleep? Like how is it even possible you’re not asleep right now when you were SO TIRED all day?!
THIS IS CALLED TIRED BUT WIRED
THIS IS CALLED YOUR BODY DOESN’T KNOW WHICH WAY IS UP AND WHICH WAY IS DOWN
THIS IS CALLED A MESSAGE FROM YOUR BODY THAT SOMETHING NEEDS YOUR ATTENTION
Seeing the sun, experiencing the morning light, and being up and about during the morning tells our bodies that it’s time to wake up and start a new day! This is literally hitting the metaphorical reset button on the circadian rhythm.
Morning Sun Musts
Sunglasses block UVB and UVA rays, and we need these rays to get into our eyes
Aim to get get outside by 9am
We want a cortisol surge in the early-ish morning so our bodies get on the “this is day time, this is night time” schedule
Shoot for 15-20ish minutes
We want to give our body's ample time to see the sun and allow the light to penetrate our retinas
Take it a step further
Do a walking meditation while you get your morning sun. Chronic stress is a major detriment to our overall health and wellbeing, so any chance you can get to sneak in some more mindfulness and deep breathing, DO IT!
It will help you feel more energized during the day, and help you drift off more easily into sleep at night.
It will naturally regulate your circadian rhythm so you can live in harmony with nature.
It will generate more peace and mitigate the harmful effects of stress on that glorious, gorgeous mind and body of yours.
Give morning walks a try for a week, and let me know in the comments how you feel!
(This is not medical advice)
Happy Morning Sunning!!