Spring has arrived in the Southern Hemisphere and there is no better time to begin the very good habit of rising early to greet the morning sun. In fact, there are many health benefits associated with morning sunshine. Even the birds and other animals provide a veritable symphony of song and dance in praise of the sun.
Greeting the morning sunshine (without wearing sunglasses) can easily be added into a daily routine by taking a walk in nature or practicing something like tai chi or yoga whilst looking into the morning sun. And some of the health benefits include:
· It Sets Up a Good Circadian Rhythm
· Helps the Brain Work Better
· Stimulates Serotonin
· Begins the Cascade Effect of Daily Hormones
· Regulates Nervous System & Hormones
· Prevents Depression
· Helps Cognition, Mood & Vitality
Setting up a good circadian rhythm or body clock is crucial to good health. When sunlight hits our eyes, a message is sent to the pineal gland in the brain and production of melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleep) is shut down and your body gets a clear signal that it’s no longer night. This sets us up for a productive day, as well as a good night’s sleep later in the day.
Being exposed to sunlight early in the morning (instead of later in the day) is associated with a lower BMI. And messing with your body clock and missing out on early rays may affect your hunger and satiety signals and alter the way your body processes the foods you eat, leading to possible weight gain.
Hormones are secreted throughout the day and greeting the morning sun sets this process in motion, which is why maintaining a healthy body clock serves your hormonal wellbeing.
Sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin - a neurotransmitter in the brain, which helps to improve mood and reduce mood swings. It also acts as a natural anti-depressant by preventing depression by producing endorphins. Starting the day with a dose of sunshine helps the brain work better so that your cognitive performance and energy is improved.
The bottom line is that the sun can help brain function, which can improve the nervous system, hormonal regulation, muscle function, immune health, and carries many other health benefits. The brain’s circadian clock regulates sleeping and feeding patterns, alertness, core body temperature, brain wave activity, hormone production, regulation of glucose and insulin levels, urine production, cell regeneration, and many other biological activities.