How can morning sun impact your weight? And more?

Are you looking to upgrade your health?

Without investing any more money?

In particular, your quality of sleep?  Your weight?  Your thyroid function?  Your mood?  Your cognitive function?

Your body, by design, is tuned into the natural world.  Returning to certain natural ways of living can be the answer to a free upgrade.

For example, did you know sunlight is free and can offer huge health benefits?  Including losing unwanted pounds?

I listened to a recent Wise Traditions podcast with Thaddeus Owen.[1]

He shared an astonishing story of his friend who wanted to lose 40 pounds.

The friend had all the latest biohacking technologies – tens of thousands of dollars of technology in his home and garage.

He was using it all when he went to a retreat that Thaddeus held.

At the retreat the participants went outside at sunrise every day.   They saw the sunrise.  They exposed their eyes to the sun without sunglasses, contacts, and glasses.

They weren’t staring directly at the sun, BUT they were getting the sunlight in their eyes by being outdoors.

The friend continued the practice after returning home.  He typically always wore sunglasses because his eyes were sensitive to the light.  But he went out at dawn every day for months without sunglasses.

Months later Thaddeus received an email from him saying:

“Thaddeus, I never believed you, but I got out every day at sunrise.  I lost 40 pounds.  And I’m no longer sensitive to sunlight.  I don’t have to wear sunglasses anymore when I’m outside and I lost all this weight.”

He didn’t change his diet or supplements.  The only thing he changed was getting outside at dawn.

Incredible.  No?  [Green 224b12]

How could making that one simple change make such a huge difference?

I don’t have any weight to lose.  But I do have other health concerns, such as poor sleep.

So, I want to more accurately and faithfully implement this practice.

I often brag on the sun and its outstanding health benefits.

But I have to confess I don’t always practice what I preach.  In particular, I don’t get the amount of sunshine I desire or need.

After hearing this though, I want to double down on practicing what I preach.

And I want to invite you to join me in implementing a morning sunshine practice.

Here’s the deal.

When you get outside at dawn BEFORE seeing any sort of screen (any device that emanates blue light), the sunlight in your eyes enables your hormones to function properly.

Sunlight provides FREE information to your body to make hormones later in the day, at the proper times of day.

For example, sunlight sets your testosterone, your estrogen, and your thyroid hormones.  It kick starts your melatonin production that you will build up for release at night.[2]

What’s more, when you eat protein, the protein is broken down to amino acids

Those amino acids are programmed to become needed hormones (including cortisol,  melatonin, and serotonin) at the proper time of the day… by sunlight.[3]

If you’re seeing a screen first thing in the morning instead of sunlight, your hormones are being improperly programmed.

No wonder we have so many health problems today.  We’re out of sync with God’s design for us.

Even though I know  God created the world with structure, order, and beauty, I am still awed by new understandings of how He ordained things to work, especially the human body.

In 2017, the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine was awarded to Jeffery C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young for the discovery of the molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythms.

Their findings explain how plants, animals and HUMANS adapt their biological rhythm so that it’s synchronized with the Earth’s rotation around the sun and on its axis.[4]

Circadian Rhythms describe the physical, physiological, and psychological changes in the body during a 24-hour period.[5]

They are controlled by light, especially DAY light and depend on the rotation of the earth around itself with respect to the sun.[6]

Throughout the 24-hour period, your endocrine system produces essential hormones that control all bodily functions – sleep, appetite, mood, blood pressure, alertness, energy, digestion, etc.

It is governed by the alteration of light and dark.

The exposure to light tells the brain how to regulate the circadian rhythms because the eyes send information to the brain through the pineal gland.

Without exposure to the bright light of dawn, your circadian rhythms are thrown off and bodily functions go awry and are out of sync.[7]

Leading to a decline in alertness, physical performance, and overall health.

You may have poor sleep, sugar cravings, unwanted weight gain/loss, thyroid problems, high blood pressure, decreased libido, moodiness,…

Without the morning sunlight you’re essentially feeding incorrect information to the body so that the hormones are produced in the wrong amount at the wrong time.

So, it seems we need to get our hormones right.

When you start to get your hormones right in your body, your health can stop declining and start to improve.

Please NOTE.  I am NOT making any medical claims here, just a logical conclusion.

This blog was primarily to be about establishing a practice of getting morning sunlight because of its potential impact on getting our circadian rhythms back in sync which in turn can have tremendous benefits on our overall health.

I am not saying there aren’t other factors impacting our circadian rhythms nor that there aren’t other factors impeding our health.  This is just something we can easily do that doesn’t cost us anything.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t talk briefly about sleep and an important nighttime practice.

Although sunlight controls our circadian rhythms and not sleep, getting good sleep is essential for optimal health.

Sleep is when we detoxify, repair, and restore.  But we need to get enough of it and go to bed at a good time.

Thaddeus, along with sleep specialist Dr. Dan Cohen, propose getting to bed by 9 pm in the winter and 10pm in the summer.   This concords with the premise  that the hours before midnight count double. [8][9]

Getting to bed at these times help us stay in sync with our circadian rhythm and take advantage of the melatonin that’s released then.

The brain shrinks at night to allow the glymphatic system to flood the brain with melatonin (one of the most potent antioxidants the body makes) to detoxify the brain cells.

It picks up the free radicals, sweeps them out via the spinal fluid out the back of the skull, down into the circulatory system for the liver and kidneys to process and expel..[10]

Interestingly though, the melatonin released at night has additional roles.

It’s responsible for appetite, sexual reproduction, what you’re hungry for, whether you gain weight as fat or muscle, and thyroid hormone production and secretion.[11]

To fulfill these roles, melatonin’s work begins at sunrise provided you’re seeing the sun.

And that you’re seeing it before seeing any blue light.[12]

But its work can be destroyed by normal everyday lighting and devices.  Looking at a device after dark tells your brain it’s noon, which completely disrupts your circadian rhythm and the regulation you’ve been working to achieve.

It interrupts your melatonin production and melatonin and sleep go hand in hand.

The best and most natural light after dark is candles or firelight.  Firelight has been shown not to reduce melatonin production at night.[13]

Knowing you’re probably not ready to start using candles or fires, let me suggest something more practical.

Probably the cheapest and easiest way to mimic firelight at night is to buy a pair (or two) of blue light blocking glasses.  They’re not that expensive.

If you can block the blue frequency of light after sunset, you’ll be telling your body it’s dark, release melatonin and cleanse and heal me during the night.

Are you like me? 

You have blue light blocking glasses but you’re not consistent about putting them on when the sun goes down and keeping them on till you go to bed?  Even though you don’t sleep as well as you’d like to sleep?

I realize there are many more factors that contribute to getting good, restorative sleep.  But let’s start with one thing.  Getting proper light.

This means getting the morning sunlight in your eyes BEFORE any screen light and avoiding blue light after sunset. 

Getting the needed morning sunlight, as I understand it, means getting out for at least 15 minutes as soon as possible after sunrise.  Or within an hour of getting up, if the sun is already up.

Without glasses, sunglasses, or contacts.

Don’t worry if you can’t get direct sunlight.  My understanding is that it’s the sunrays that count.  Although I would think it’s better if you can get direct sunlight.

What do you do if you get up before the sun like me, especially in wintertime?

Avoid any blue lights.  And avoid artificial light as much as possible.

If I must get on my computer before the sun comes up, then I am going to put on my blue light blocking glasses.  I’d been trying to get morning sun previous to listening to the podcast.  BUT I didn’t realize the importance of NOT getting blue light before getting sunlight.  Hence, I’ve had to change my morning routine a little.

I invite you to join me in getting morning sunlight AND cutting out the blue light at night.

You can’t go wrong with trying these morning and evening practices.

If they don’t seem to help, keep doing them.  And look at what more you can do.

Such as:

  • Get out in the middle of the day for 15 minutes.
  • Get out at dusk for 15 minutes.
  • When you’re inside, opens window whenever possible to get direct sunlight.
  • Open the car windows when driving.
  • Walk or bike instead of driving whenever possible.
  • Find whatever excuse you can to get outside and get sun exposure WITHOUT sunscreen.
  • Go barefoot and so you can get some grounding in.
  • Go to bed at decent time and do so consistently.

And remember I am here for you, to help you in upgrading your health.

Book a free 30-minute Discovery Call today so we can discuss where you’d like to see improvement in your health and what changes might help you get there.

Peace and grace,

Karen

[1] https://www.westonaprice.org/podcast/the-missing-element-for-your-health/#gsc.tab=0

[2] Ibid

[3] https://www.westonaprice.org/podcast/the-missing-element-for-your-health/#gsc.tab=0

[4] https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2017/press-release/; https://www.nature.com/articles/nature.2017.22736

[5] Shantih Coro, personal communication, February 18, 2024

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] https://www.westonaprice.org/podcast/the-missing-element-for-your-health/#gsc.tab=0; 

https://soltechealth.com/about/

[9] https://www.realsimple.com/health/preventative-health/sleep/sleep-before-midnight

[10] Brian Hoyer, personal communication, May 18, 2023

[11] https://www.westonaprice.org/podcast/the-missing-element-for-your-health/#gsc.tab=0; https://www.naturalendocrinesolutions.com/articles/melatonin-thyroid-health/

[12] https://www.westonaprice.org/podcast/the-missing-element-for-your-health/#gsc.tab=0

[13] Ibid

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Enjoy these favorite dishes. 
 
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Plus monthly REAL food tips & inspiration right to your inbox!
 
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