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    The Best Way to Boost Morning Energy: Part 2

    The Best Way to Boost Morning Energy: Part 2

    If you haven’t already checked out Part 1 of this post you can find it here.

    Now that you have a better idea of how your cortisol rhythms work throughout the day, we will discuss how you can optimize your Cortisol Awakening Response (CAR). As discussed in the previous post your CAR is the natural “kickstart” to your day that should occur when your circadian rhythm is intact.

    The MOST impactful strategy BY FAR is getting direct morning sun exposure. Light is the primary factor that regulates your circadian rhythm. We are designed to wake up with the sun and go to bed when it’s dark but when we miss these important light signals, our bodily functions become dysregulated having a notable negative impact on our energy levels.

    The sunrise mainly emits red and infrared light as well as a very important spike of blue light. When photoreceptors in our eyes sense this blue light, a signal is sent to our brain that basically says “TIME TO WAKE UP!” Many processes occur as a results of this but one of the main ones is a signal to the adrenal glads to produce cortisol. Cortisol is our natural cup of morning coffee to give us the energy we need to start our day. Interestingly, consuming coffee also stimulates the release of cortisol which is one of the reasons people reach for it to improve energy levels (coffee can be useful when used appropriately but in many cases is abused placing too much stress on our adrenals).

    Red and infrared light help to boost mitochondrial production, in fact there are certain proteins in our mitochondrial membranes that directly absorb light which increases ATP (energy) production. This process can occur in the complete absence of food intake, in other words we have some capacity to photosynthesize and harness energy directly from the sun like plants. It turns out water also absorbs infrared energy and catalyzes the formation of 4th phase or EZ water which is another way our body produces energy!

    Lastly, in the latter portion of the sunrise we receive UV-A light which helps us produce molecules like serotonin, dopamine and thyroid hormones which help give us energy, focus, motivation, and a general sense of well being.

    We can gain all of these benefits simply by watching the sunrise! Now there are a few important “rules” to follow for best results:

    • You must actually be outside. Most windows block a large portion of the Red & Infrared spectrums and although you will still receive some benefit it is not equivalent.

    • It is important to avoid wearing glasses and sunglasses if possible as your primary photoreceptors are in your eyes! You also have some on your skin so sunbathing in minimal clothing without sunscreen is ideal (this applies at all times of the day).

    • You do not need direct sunlight but it is best if available. Even on a cloudy day there is a high enough intensity of light to kickstart your circadian rhythm.

    • 5-10 minutes will have a positive impact but the longer you are outside the more benefit you will receive. We are designed to live outside and although it’s not a reality for most, ideally we should be outside from sunrise to sunset.

    I recommend getting outside first thing in the morning for 1 week straight, I have yet to come across a person who didn’t report any benefits. In fact most people become addicted to it (there is actually a physiological explanation for this, more in another post) and make it an ongoing part of their morning routine. Give it a shot and let me know how you feel!

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