Embracing the natural morning light is the latest trend gaining popularity this January, as health enthusiasts aim to banish the winter blues and improve sleep quality.
James Higgins, CEO of Ethical Bedding, the UK’s only BCorp-accredited sustainable bedding company, reports a rise in the popularity of “morning sunlight exposure” as health-conscious individuals are increasingly stepping outside to bathe in natural light within the first hour of waking.
Spending at least 30 minutes outside in the fresh air is hugely beneficial for both mind and body,” says James. “However, you don’t have to be fully active immediately. Even enjoying your morning coffee wrapped up in a blanket, outdoors can be beneficial.
James explains: “Our bodies have a natural circadian clock that governs our sleep patterns. Early morning light exposure resets this clock, signalling your body to wake up and start the day. Insufficient sunlight can delay this clock, making you tired later in the evening and disrupting your sleep.”
Sunlight aids in producing serotonin, crucial for well-being and happiness. Regular morning light exposure can boost serotonin, enhancing mood and happiness.
He add: “Morning light offers other benefits. Vitamin D from sunlight improves bone health and boosts the immune system. It affects melatonin production, a sleep hormone. Light exposure decreases melatonin production, therefore regulating its cycle and promoting a stable sleep-wake schedule.”
To seamlessly integrate morning sunlight into your daily routine, James advises on how to adjust sleeping habits.
If you’re an early riser, consider taking your first cup of coffee or tea outdoors. For those with busy schedules, try a short morning walk, even if it’s just around your garden or down your street. On days when outdoor exposure is challenging, open your curtains or blinds as soon as you wake up to let natural light into your home, or arrange your workspace near a window to maximise your exposure to natural light.
Remember, the goal is to make morning sunlight exposure a natural and enjoyable part of your start to the day.
Additional benefits to natural morning light exposure
- Enhanced cognitive function. It can improve cognitive performance, increasing concentration and mental clarity – helpful for busy days.
- Regulated body weight. Sunlight exposure may influence body weight by affecting hormones like leptin, which governs appetite and metabolism.
- Benefits eye health. Regular morning light exposure aids in maintaining the body’s circadian rhythm and stimulates dopamine production in the retina, crucial for normal eye development and reducing myopia risk.
- Improves skin health. Controlled sunlight exposure can improve conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and acne, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
- Regulates blood pressure. Sunlight affects nitric oxide levels in the skin and blood, reducing blood pressure and lowering heart attack and stroke risks.