Updated: Feb 9
Light is all around us, from sunlight to artificial light, our lives are filled with different spectrums throughout the day. Many of us are unaware just how much light impacts our lives, but this little known secret might just be the key you need to get a better night's sleep.
Here comes the sun (doo doo doo doo)….
Getting sunlight first thing in the morning is not high on most people's to do list. Instead, they opt for a quick cup of coffee (maybe adding a couple cream and sugars) and some enticing food they enjoy - breakfast bagel anybody?
While these foods and drinks are filled with quick energy, do you ever wonder why you are left feeling tired for most of the day? The answer could be sunlight exposure first thing in the morning… or lack thereof.
Numerous studies have shown that getting sunlight exposure first thing in the morning, especially as the sun is first rising, can have a very positive impact on your circadian rhythm and wake/sleep cycle. Getting sun on your skin first thing in the morning signals to your body that it is time for another day, therefore increasing hormones such as cortisol (which rises naturally in the morning) and charging your body with energy. It has also shown to regulate melatonin levels at night, leading to a better, more restful sleep and higher energy levels the following day.
Just 20 minutes or more of sunlight exposure first thing in the morning is a great way to jumpstart your day, regulate your circadian rhythm and indicate to your body that it is time to produce energy. There’s a biological reason why we feel better outside on sunny days.
What about blue (artificial) light?
You have gotten sunlight first thing in the morning, set your circadian rhythm for the day and regulated your wake/sleep cycles... yet you still have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. How could this be?
The missing link here is limiting or blocking exposure to blue (artificial) light at night. Exposing our eyes to artificial light at night has been shown to stop the pineal gland from producing melatonin, so while you may get that morning sun, you are still missing half the puzzle.
By turning off artificial light, or more realistically, wearing blue light glasses at night as the sun goes down, your pineal gland will get a boost in producing more melatonin, a hormone essential for deep, restorative sleep.