Circadian Rhythm & Sunlight Exposure

Feb 27, 2024

 by Ana Nunez

What are Circadian Rhythms? 

They are the physical,mental and behavioral changes of a living organism or human being experienced over a 24hr cycle. Circadian rhythm has an important purpose! They prepare the body for expected changes in the environment, for example the time for activity,time for sleep and times to eat. 


Circadian rhythms are affected by changes to light exposure from light to dark, the strongest light exposure possible that can affect these changes is direct light from the sun, however artificial light also plays a role. 


Why is this important detail to your overall health? 

Viewing sunlight in the first 30 to 60 minutes after waking regardless of cloud coverage, will trigger release of cortisol in the body through neurons in your eyes that send a signal to a set of neurons that sit in the roof of your mouth that sends a huge electrical & chemical connection signal out to your entire body setting off that cortisol increase that provides a wake up signal from your brain and body that sets in motion a timer internally for sleep later on. The earlier you expose your eyes to sunlight when the sun goes down your internal timer will set off the natural melatonin in your brain helping you fall asleep faster, the later you view light the later you will stay up and get less restful sleep.


How can you adjust your internal clock to benefit your overall health? 

Viewing direct Natural sunlight early in the morning without any obstruction so not through glass or sunglasses but actually being outside for a few minutes. Avoiding artificial light at night before going to bed like TV or your cell phone, can trick your brain into thinking it's still time to stay up making it harder to fall asleep. And finally avoid substances late in the day that can alter your state of mind like caffeine, alcohol, THC, or certain supplements because that will also affect your circadian rhythm. There are plenty of research studies that show how this system works in your body and because everyone is different it's recommended to do your own research before applying any new changes to your life or consult your health professional. 


Overall good sleep makes for a well balanced clear mind to tackle what you set your mind to.