Did you ever wonder how sunlight impacts your health and happiness? Have you ever felt less alert and struggling to finish or even start a task on an overcast or foggy day or simply during the late afternoons of winter?
You will be glad to know you are experiencing something very natural.
Scientists have known for a long time that light is a key factor in triggering the mind and body to be alert. In fact, to get a deep sleep scientists use their awareness of the connection between alertness and sunlight when they recommend you sleep in a dark room. If the room you are in is bright the body’s built in light sensitivity tries to keep you awake.
How is your body impacted by light?
The following explanation is from the Environmental Health Perspectives Journal, a peer reviewed open access journal. The journal citation is Mead MN 2008. Benefits of Sunlight: A Bright Spot for Human Health. Environ Health Perspect 116:A160-A167.
“As diurnal creatures, we humans are programmed to be outdoors while the sun is shining and home in bed at night. This is why melatonin is produced during the dark hours and stops upon optic exposure to daylight. This pineal hormone is a key pacesetter for many of the body’s circadian rhythms. It also plays an important role in countering infection, inflammation, cancer, and auto-immunity….
When people are exposed to sunlight or very bright artificial light in the morning, their nocturnal melatonin production occurs sooner, and they enter into sleep more easily at night…The melatonin rhythm phase advancement caused by exposure to bright morning light has been effective against insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
The melatonin precursor, serotonin, is also affected by exposure to daylight…Moderately high serotonin levels result in more positive moods and a calm yet focused mental outlook. Indeed, SAD has been linked with low serotonin levels during the day as well as with a phase delay in night time melatonin production.”
What can this mean to you?
Stated simply, each day it is important when you want to be alert to make sure your environment is well lit. If you are working by a computer or studying reports keep alert by having a well lit environment. If you work in a building that lacks light make sure you get outside during break times to wake up your mind and body.
If you still struggle to keep awake during darker days you can consider buying lamps that can act like the sun to brighten your day. For example, check out Philips goLITE BLU Light Therapy Device which has been reviewed by over 270 people.
Enjoy a brighter day for your health and happiness,
Your friend on the journey,