The Top 5 Health Benefits Of Morning Sunlight Exposure

The Top 5 Health Benefits Of Morning Sunlight Exposure

Getting sunlight in your eyes first thing in the morning may not be what you want, but it’s something you need. Researchers note that morning sunlight exposure helps reset your body’s internal clock, helping cue the body that it’s time to wake up. By that logic, you cue the body to be more awake and help it figure out when it’s time to go to bed once the sun goes down. Sunlight exposure is not just beneficial for your sleep; rather, it can lead to benefits that we detail in this article. 

Let us be clear when we say that you should not stare directly into the sun, as that can damage your eyes. Be outside, ideally walking for about 10-30 minutes in the morning, to promote hormonal balance and metabolic wellbeing. The reason that you incorporate a walk into your morning sunlight exposure is to promote optic flow. Walking stimulates neurons in the eyes that communicate to the brain that it is daytime and time to be alert. That sets your body’s biological responses on the right path. 

How long you stay outside will ultimately depend on the brightness level. If it is very bright, two minutes per day is the minimum. Even if it is a cloudy day, you can benefit from heading outside in the morning. Note that experts do not want you to wear sunglasses because you should not shield your eyes from natural light. Seeing the light promotes a spike in healthy cortisol, which promotes wakefulness and optimal immune function. This spike will happen every 24 hours, but do your best to decide when it happens, i.e. when you first see sunlight. 

Helps Improve Sleep

When you expose yourself to sunlight in the morning, nocturnal melatonin production occurs sooner. That means that you go to sleep more easily when night time comes around. Although melatonin production has seasonal variation because of light availability, you can advance the melatonin rhythm phase via morning sunlight exposure. Studies found that this may be an effective strategy to ward off insomnia, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and premenstrual syndrome. By making cortisol in the morning, the body avoids having a surplus at night, making it easier to go to sleep. Plus, sunlight helps the body make serotonin, which is a precursor to melatonin!

Enhances Your Mood

As previously mentioned, sunlight can help boost the production of serotonin, which is a feel good brain chemical. One of the best ways to control the release of this chemical is via morning sunlight exposure. According to research, serotonin plays an active role in the treatment of depression. By exposing the body to full spectrum sunlight in the morning, it produces serotonin, which improves mood throughout the day. Outdoor light, even on a cloudy day, delivers more lux than indoor light. For example, rainy days still produce lux levels of 1,000 or more, which is greater than any indoor light can produce. On sunny summer days, outdoor light can deliver 1,000 times brighter than any indoor light.

Immune Cell Regulation

The immune system has a complex list of different cells. If a certain cell doesn’t function or exists in imbalanced amounts, the immune system either becomes suppressed or stimulated, increasing the risk of inflammatory conditions, autoimmune disorders, or even cancer. UV exposure works to increase T-regulatory cell activity. These immune cells basically tell other immune cell types to stay calm. By supporting immune system regulation, you can protect your overall health and reduce the risk of excessive inflammation. 

Improves Metabolic Function

Metabolic syndrome relates to blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and many other health issues. Type 2 diabetes and heart disease are associated with poor glucose metabolism, which means that the body cannot break down and use glucose. Statistics show that about 20-30% of people worldwide deal with metabolic syndrome; however, sunlight exposure may aid normal metabolic function. Studies on this subject are ongoing, but past studies indicate that regular sunlight exposure helps balance circadian rhythm, which supports appetite regulation and overall metabolic markers. 

May Improve Skin Health

UVB light may improve skin health, especially in people who suffer from inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. One study found mast cells play a critical role in calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) mediated immune suppression. That may explain why sun exposure may effectively remedy symptoms of psoriasis. This skin condition can cause flaky, scaly patches on the skin because skin cells grow too fast. Researchers confirmed that UVB light slows this overactive growth by calming inflammation. The same anti-inflammatory effects may also help reduce eczema symptoms, potentially by correcting vitamin D deficiency on the skin.

2023-01-19T17:29:22-07:00