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sun chaser & circadian rhythm

Updated: May 15

female holding the sun in the palm of her hand

If you know me, you know I am a chaser of the sun. First thing in the morning on my walks, I ditch my sunglasses. Why?  Looking at the sun, particularly in the morning, plays a crucial role in regulating our circadian rhythm and overall health due to its impact on our body's production of melatonin and serotonin, as well as its role in setting our internal clock.

  1. Circadian Rhythm Regulation: Exposure to sunlight, especially in the morning, helps to synchronize our internal biological clock, known as the circadian rhythm. This rhythm regulates a multitude of bodily functions such as sleep-wake cycles, hormone secretion, and body temperature regulation. Sunlight exposure in the morning signals to our bodies that it's time to wake up and be alert, while decreasing exposure in the evening helps signal the body that it's time to wind down and prepare for sleep.

  2. Melatonin Production: Sunlight exposure, particularly in the morning, suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep and wakefulness. Lower levels of melatonin during the day contribute to increased alertness and energy levels, while higher levels in the evening help promote sleep. This natural variation in melatonin levels is influenced by exposure to sunlight and helps to maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.

  3. Serotonin Production: Sunlight exposure also stimulates the production of serotonin, often referred to as the "feel-good" hormone. Serotonin plays a crucial role in regulating mood, appetite, and sleep. Adequate levels of serotonin are associated with feelings of well-being and happiness. Exposure to sunlight, especially during the day, can help boost serotonin levels, contributing to overall mental health and well-being.

  4. Vitamin D Synthesis: Sunlight is a primary source of vitamin D, which is essential for maintaining healthy bones, immune function, and overall health. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces vitamin D in response to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation. Adequate vitamin D levels are important for various bodily functions and overall health.

So to sum it up, exposure to sunlight, particularly in the morning, helps regulate our circadian rhythm, boosts mood, and supports overall health through the synthesis of vitamin D and regulation of hormone production. However, here is where as a skin therapist I remind you that it is essential to balance sun exposure, to avoid overexposure and the associated risks of sunburn and skin damage.


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