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The Power of Morning Sunlight: Why You Should Start Your Day in the Sun

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

If you are anything like me, you love to sleep in. As someone who stays up late into the night, waking up early is something I dread doing most days of the week. However, as soon as the school year started, I decided this had to change. So, I created a morning routine for myself to start my day off on the right foot. This morning routine included waking up earlier than I usually would. I woke up at 8 a.m. every morning, and immediately after waking up, I would take in the morning light from my bedroom window. I did this daily for one week and felt my day started more on a positive note. I felt so much more awake than I normally do when I wake up. This made me realize that there is some science to justify why I felt more refreshed in the morning. There are numerous benefits to taking in the morning sun when you wake up.

Guidelines for taking in the morning sun:

Initially, I thought sun exposure was bad for your skin, but I discovered that little amounts of sun exposure early in the day is not damaging at all. It can have really positive effects. Scientists say that the optimal time to do this with the maximum benefits is between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. because the sun’s rays get harsher as the day progresses. Scientists also say that you should only do this for5-15 minutes and up to 30 minutesif you have darker skin. If you are outside for longer than 15 minutes, you should definitely wear sunscreen.

Benefit #1: Bone Strength

Being in the sun is one of the easiest ways to increase Vitamin D in our bodies. Sunlight exposure is whathelps our bodies create Vitamin D, which helps absorb calcium. This allows bones to stay strong and healthy. Vitamin D also improves your immune system and cell growth. 

Benefit #2: Sleep Regulation

Having sunlight exposure in the morning can make it easier for you to wake up in the morning and sleep better at night. We all have an internal clock that sets the times when we wake up and fall asleep called a circadian rhythm. This is important, especially for melatonin production.Melatonin is a hormone that your brain produces in response to darkness and helps you fall asleep.So when it gets dark, your body naturally starts producing melatonin to help you fall asleep. When exposed to light in the morning, it tells your body to stop producing melatonin. When sunlight shines into your room in the morning and you take in that morning sun, your body will stop producing melatonin. When your body stops producing melatonin, you will wake up and feel much more alert. Personally, I see a huge difference when I wake up now.  When I take in that morning sun, I feel awake quicke r than before when I didn’t take in the morning sun. 

Benefit #3: Emotional well-being

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), sunshine may directly stimulate the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that controls your mood and is responsible for mediating satisfaction, happiness and optimism. Having sun exposure when you wake up can allow your body to give you a boost of serotonin in the morning to start your day on a positive note. 

Benefit #4: Weight loss

According toPeter Light from the Alberta Diabetes Institute, “When the sun’s blue light wavelengths penetrate our skin and reach the fat cells just beneath, lipid droplets reduce in size and are released out of the cell. In other words, our cells don’t store as much fat.” Spending some time to take in that morning sun every day can aid in your weight loss journey!

Being someone who loves to sleep in, I never thought that I would enjoy waking up early and taking in the morning sun. Seeing firsthand how much it has helped me start my day on a positive note, I am more inclined to wake up earlier as it helps me feel more productive throughout my day. I used to be someone who woke up late and felt very lethargic, tired and unproductive when I woke up. After I started waking up early to the sun every morning, I have seen a huge difference in the way I feel and I don’t think I will ever go back

A writer for HerCampus in the Saint Louis University chapter.