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With spring here, soon to ebb into summer, it’s a perfect time to use the morning sunshine to help you live better. Here’s how.

1. Sunshine on your Skin Equals Happiness

Exposing your skin to sunshine in the mornings does many great things for you. One of those amazing things is that it puts you in a great mood. When the sun shines directly on your skin causes your brain to generate the hormone serotonin. This is a happiness hormone, and will make mornings more enjoyable and set you up for the day.

If you have a warm complexion you should be aiming for 20-30 minutes in the sun, otherwise 10-20 minutes should be enough. This is on account of melanin in the skin which acts as a natural sunblock*. The more melanin you have, the more sunlight you will need as it will be harder to produce the serotonin you need.

(*Note: Do wear suncream if there is strong UV, regardless of your melanin levels!)

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2. Sunshine Boosts Alertness

Aim to spend time in the sun between the times of 6AM and 8:30AM. As a result, your cortisol levels will super-amp in the mornings and baseline in the evenings. What is cortisol? It’s the stress hormone that causes you to feel alert throughout the day.

Having it spike in the morning means you will be better able to concentrate on the day’s tasks. Also, it’s the direct opposite of melatonin – the sleep hormone. For it to spike in the morning and bottom out by the end of the day will result in a getting good quality sleep that night. As you can’t go and stop at the same time: you can’t be sleepy and alert at the same time. One has to take the lead over the other.

3. Sunshine Leads to a Great Night Sleep

Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that makes you feel sleepy at night, which is important to having restful sleep. It’s important to take advantage of this hormone when you feel it around 10PM or so, as the best hours of sleep are from 11PM through to 2AM. During this time is when your skin is repaired and studies say it is twice as good for you as being asleep at any other time.

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