Watching the sunrise is one of the most important daily practices you can implement to improve your health. Here’s why:
1. The light signals coming from the sun first thing in the morning are essential to regulate your circadian rhythm.
Your circadian rhythm (aka internal clock) is the master regulator of all biological activity, the proper functioning of your cells is dependent on this mechanism. Natural light (sun exposure) is the most important signal, especially during sunrise.
2. Red and near infrared light boosts your energy and mitochondrial function.
The sun mainly emits red and near infrared light during sunrise which are potent activators of mitochondrial function thus energy production. Your mitochondria can produce ATP (energy) using red and infrared wavelengths in the absence of food! They also prepare the body for upcoming UV exposure = more benefits from the sun with less burning.
3. UV light regulates your endocrine (hormonal) system
Several hormones and neurotransmitters are either produced, released or inactivated by different light frequencies present during the morning sun. UV-A light is not present during the initial sunrise but becomes present as you start to feel the warmth of the sun. Amino acids such as Tyrosine and Tryptophan absorb UV-A light converting them into important hormones and neurotransmitters such as thyroid hormone, dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, serotonin and melatonin to name a few!
Overall the sunrise provides extremely important light signals for our body that are foundational to our health. Think of morning sun exposure as one of the most important nutrients your body requires.
How to Watch the Sunrise
1. Go to bed shortly after the sun sets!
There will be some variation based on season and geography but as a general rule follow the sun. 10pm is a good time bed time to aim for.
2. Wake up with the sunrise
Once your circadian rhythm is intact you will naturally rise with the sun, until then look up when the sun rises in your area and set an alarm.
3. Go outside FIRST THING in the morning
Direct sun exposure should be the first source of light your body is exposed to, not your cell phone! Find a spot where you can catch the first glimpse of the sun. If it’s a cloudy day, you still get many of the benefits just get outside!
4. Get DIRECT sun exposure on your eyes and as much of your skin as possible
No glasses, sunglasses, sun screen or windows! If your only option is to open a window and look through a screen that’s much better than nothing! Your main light receptors are in your eyes but you also have them on your skin.
5. Stand on the Earth barefoot
The Earth’s magnetic field also provides an important signal that we are missing as shoe-wearing, indoor-dwelling domesticated humans. The Earth is an abundant source of electrons that we can use to increase energy and decrease inflammation. Free anti-oxidants, no berries required!
6. Try to look directly or 15 degrees away from the sun for a couple minutes
Do this during the very first 15 minutes of sunrise only, IF you are able to. If this hurts your eyes in any way, stop immediately. Slowly increase the amount of time you sun gaze.
7. Spend as much time as you can outside during the morning
The sunrise is the most important time to be outside, but there are benefits of being outside at all hours of the day. Even if it’s only a couple minutes here and there, the effects are profound for your biology!
Do this every day and watch your health transform 👍