Sunlight and Sleep

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Sunlight and Sleep

Light is a powerful guide for your body. In part through the connections between the eyes and the brain's biological timekeeper, light rays influence chemistry and behavior and keep us in sync with the ebb and flow of the day.

Think about it: humans evolved spending a lot of time outside, where they were exposed to light beginning with the rising sun. In our modern world we spend more time indoors, but sunlight still helps regulate our sleeping patterns.

When you're ready to begin the day, exposing your body to the sun will not only help alert the brain and set you in motion, it will also help you sleep later on. Have blinds or curtains that can cocoon you in darkness by night, but that you can easily pull back to bathe the room in sunlight when you wake. Before you start the day, spend some time in the light, and remember to give your body doses of sun throughout the day when possible.

If you need to wake before the sun comes up, you can find dawn-simulating alarms, or even use lights intended for seasonal affective disorder—these are particularly helpful during the winter when the sun rises later.