Brain Waves with Debra Rose

Here Comes the Sun

Have you noticed a shift in mood since we moved the clocks forward an hour and the days are filled with sunlight?  What we interpret as feeling more ‘energized’ has a lot to do with what is happening not only with time but with the neurochemicals in our brain.

As we have become more familiar with the role of serotonin in our emotions, another function this chemical has is to regulate our hormonal levels when we are exposed to sunlight.

Let’s say you travel in the winter to have some sun exposure, or you find yourself sporadically indoors during peak summer months. Your overall sense of well-being may be disrupted, having a negative impact on your mood.

Being physically active (preferably outdoors), getting a full night of sleep each night, and getting more sunlight exposure daily will make a difference in keeping your energy and mood elevated. Have you ever stepped into a well lit indoor space, even a lighting store, and noticed how much better you feel? While it’s not the same as natural sunshine, proper indoor lights and light therapy lamps will balance out some of those chemicals especially during the darker seasons. Traveling and trying to adjust for jet lag is usually boosted by immediate and prolonged sunlight exposure when you arrive home or to your destination to acclimate to the time zone. Our circadian rhythms are impacted by sunlight, and the proper amount will go along way to make us feel more invigorated and less fatigued.

Intuitively you may already know that these brain functions influence our metabolism, while hunger, ability to digest and burn calories alters according to your exposure. The healthier and more consistent access to sunshine, the more efficient the processes. We have to constantly combat the prolonged, ill-timed, unhealthy exposure we have to artificial light all day long. Our susceptibility to diseases, happiness, overall health and longevity are directly correlated to our time spent in sunlight. Go outside and play!