Most of us know we should be getting sunlight every day, but it’s most important in the morning.
Light is more important than you think
Before 24/7 access to lighting and screens, we operated by the rising and setting of the sun. The sunrise was our natural alarm clock, daytime was work time, and darkness meant time to rest and recover. Humans spent thousands of years in sync with the rhythm of light and dark, and it’s how we optimally perform to this day.
When light hits your eyes and skin, your body knows it’s time to work. Our body temperature rises, alertness and energy metabolism start to increase, and melatonin (sleep hormone) production downshifts (also why it’s important to limit screentime at night).
And just as your body knows it’s morning, it can also tell when nighttime is approaching. Morning light allows your body and mind to properly wind down at the end of the day and dramatically improves the quality of your sleep…meaning even greater energy the next day.
How much is enough?
Most experiments point to 30 minutes of bright light on your eyes (without eyewear) and skin close to wake time to be most effective, but less time still provides some benefit. Getting a walk outside is optimal but not practical for many, especially with cold winters or busy lifestyles. In that case, you can invest in a light box (like my red light below), get situated near a window, and make your indoor space as bright as possible when you wake up.
Focusing on building restorative practices in our daily routines is one of the most effective ways to increase our energy and resilience and avoid burnout. Integrating breathwork, grounding, and exercise are some other short, yet effective strategies you might like to try.
Morning Light Box: Amazon.com: Circadian Optics Light Therapy Lamp — UV-Free LED Happy Mood Lamps with 10,000 Lux for Seasonal Sunlight Changes — Full Spectrum Sun Lights for Work from Home — Lumos (White) : Health & Household