3 Ways the Longer Days Might Make You Feel Better (And How!)
WE SPRING FORWARD ON MARCH 13
(along with most of the northern hemisphere, with some exceptions.)
Are you looking forward to the longer days ahead? We’re setting the clocks forward an hour, to take advantage of the later sunsets, and getting more daylight hours! But what does this mean for you? Here are 3 ways your body and mind can benefit from the time change.
Earlier daylight and longer days mean you can start to top up your Vitamin D stores that were likely depleted during the dark days of Winter. Anyone living above the imaginary line drawn from about Los Angeles to Columbia, SC does not get enough year round sunlight to adequately supply the body without supplementation. Your skin can synthesize Vitamin D under the surface when exposed to sufficient direct, bright sunlight.
This fat-soluble vitamin is essential in the absorption of calcium, which protects bone strength, and helps regulate the immune system. Always looking for connections, I asked myself, could this be one of the contributing factors to why people seem to get more sick in winter? Less immune-regulating and supporting Vitamin D?
Sunlight is the key player in setting your circadian rhythm. Exposing yourself, especially your face to bright sun early in the morning gets your body’s systems moving for the day. It begins synthesis of serotonin, begins the countdown for melatonin production, and sends signals for your metabolism to start waking up!
There is some evidence that even our microbiomes have their own circadian rhythm. Our own natural balance, as well as that of the trillions of microorganisms populating the gut can be thrown off by extended periods of sleeplessness, insomnia, and night shift work. Spending time soaking up some rays can get your rhythm back in order.
The perception of more time, and more possibility. Many of us often feel a “Spring awakening” of sorts and come out of our cozy winter dens. With the extended dayight, we may spend a little longer outside after getting the kids from school or sports, or after work. The extra sunshine will offer time to get a walk in after dinner, or have an afternoon meeting with a friend.
Because the darkness signals our body to produce melatonin (the sleep hormone) it’s easy to understand why we might feel more tired and sluggish in the early evenings of Winter. With your sleepy-time signals delayed, you actually can get more done in your day without powering through tiredness.
So, rather than thinking of it as a loss of an hour of sleep, think of it as an extra hour tacked on to your evenings to do something enjoyable. Get sunshine early in the morning to rev up your systems, and then enjoy the benefits all day long!
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