As the life-giving sun peeks over the horizon in the morning, it brings warmth and the promise of a new day, helping to improve your mood, boost your immune system, and allowing you to sleep better. The sun is a powerful medication, one that we should take advantage of every day. Here’s why.
Benefits of sitting in the morning sun
Boost your immune system
Think about it for a minute, what time of year do people get the least amount of sunlight? Next, what time of year do people usually get the flu? If you answered “winter” for both of these questions, you would be spot on. Vitamin D, which we get from the sun, plays a crucial role in regulating and boosting the immune system. When you spend time in the morning sun, even just a few minutes, you are getting a vital dose of vitamin D that can help shore up your defenses against germs.
Improves your sleep
Your body’s circadian rhythm is responsible for a number of biological processes, including appetite, hormone production, energy levels, body temperature, and sleep patterns. When this rhythm is interrupted, due to blue light from electronics, sleeping in, or caffeine, melatonin (or the sleep hormone) is not produced as it should be, which leads to insomnia and other sleep issues. Spending 15 minutes basking in the morning sun can actually help reset this rhythm and, along with a healthy bedtime routine, will improve your sleep quality and allow you to get the most out of your shut-eye.
Improves bone health
Though calcium is the most famous mineral for improving bone health and density, vitamin D also plays a crucial role in strengthening your bones. Experts say that sitting under the morning sun for 15-20 minutes a day is a viable alternative to calcium.
Reduces chronic disease risk
It is crazy that something as simple as morning sunlight can have such a beneficial impact on your health. The truth is, we often overcomplicate health and think that there is some secret fountain of youth and wellbeing that we’re missing out on. Along with a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet, sunlight is one of the easiest ways to boost your health and reduce your risk of chronic disease. Plus, it’s free and doesn’t have any side effects. It has been shown to help prevent asthma, autoimmunity, diabetes, MS, and cardiovascular-related diseases.
Eases mild depression
If you’ve ever noticed your mood taking a turn for the worse during those long stretches of gloomy, cloudy days, you are not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can impact those who are in cold, grey climates and leave you feeling down and out of sorts. Sunlight isn’t a solution for severe depression, so be sure to talk to a therapist or counselor if you are struggling with that. However, it can help alleviate mild feelings of depression and regulate your mood.
How to spend time in the morning sun
Though it may be challenging if you have to leave for work before the sun is up in the wintertime, you can still get your morning rays in the summer or on the weekends when your schedule is a little more flexible. All you need to do is step outside on your back porch, patio, or deck and spend a little time soaking in the sun. Enjoy your morning coffee and a book, eat your breakfast, or engage in restorative yoga that can help you stretch tight muscles and prepare for the day. If you live in a climate with a mild winter, you can continue this practice throughout the year by cuddling under a blanket or layering a few jackets. If you have time, a 30-minute walk in the morning will help you reach your daily requirement for sunlight and vitamin D.
Many people are naturally concerned about spending concentrated time sunbathing due to risks such as skin cancer and UV damage; however, the early morning sunlight doesn’t have the same dangers as midday sunlight. While it is a good idea to use a mineral sunscreen on your face, don’t worry about wearing sunglasses or a hat to cover up your face as the sun is not as intense, so you don’t have to worry about health risks.