A big reason that I chose to settle in Thailand for the winter was for the opportunity to self-experiment with the power of the region’s intense equatorial sun has on my health & wellbeing.
The Sunrises & Sunsets Edition
A big reason that I chose to settle in Thailand for the winter was for the opportunity to self-experiment with the power of the region’s intense equatorial sun has on my health & wellbeing. So far, here is my new emerging life maxim:
Never miss a sunrise or sunset.
*NOTE TO SELF: This doesn’t mean from behind a window. Literally going outside, no matter the temperature/conditions.
For the visual types, here’s a picture my being a freak on this topic from the terrace of our Airbnb in Thailand. 👇
Obviously, I get that doing this in Thailand is MUCH easier than, say, my birthplace of snowy Northern Maine or my homebase in New York. And let’s be real, for the majority of my life, I’ve been a complete indoor cat 🐈🏡who routinely missed both the rise and the fall of the sun.
And according to a study from the EPA, it appears that I wasn’t alone in those “indoor cat” tendencies:
If this is true, the average person is getting sun exposure----THE most important regulator of our chronobiology (day-night cycle that affects the human organism when the earth rotates)---less than 7% of the day. The sun has been traded for fake manmade blue lights at the entirely wrong times of the day 🤦♀️ in the form of our smartphones, TV, LEDs, fluorescents, incadencests, etc.
Basically, we have become zoo animals.
BUT, if even I, an indoor cat, can embark on this conscious “rewilding” and reconvening with nature - ANYONE CAN!
And, why again are we doing this?
I cannot begin to get into ALL of the benefits (although for anyone interested, I will provide resources below AND could talk all day about this topic, so feel free to hit ‘reply’) that occur when you routinely see the sunrise and the sunset without sunglasses, contacts, sunscreen, makeup, hats, etc. But, the watered down version is that the two act as natural ON/OFF switches for your circadian rhythm, particularly affecting your release of cortisol and melatonin (measured in both timing and concentration). When I was a chronic night owl, these 2 critical hormones were completely out of whack considering I virtually never experienced either. Here’s a look at the impact of aligning your days within the boundaries of sunrise and sunset has on the human body (pulled from Alex Fergus’ solid post re: the impact of morning sun on your sleep).
Beyond the physiological & psychological benefits. I also simply love the benefits that I’ve experienced on my productivity by utilizing the sun to both start and end my work calendar. Handing over my schedule to nature has provided a nice sense of urgency to complete my work between sunrise and sunset (so that I’m not inundated with the blue light of my computer late at night) and has provided a sense of accomplishment/completion at the end of the day.
If interested in testing this out, are some cool tools & resources that make your alignment with nature pretty effortless:
Lux App: This little app will ensure that you are insync with the timing of sunrise & sunset in your specific geolocation by sending you alerts to count down the time that you have left for both (no matter where in the world you are)..
MyLuxRecorder App: This app was created by scientist Dr. Satchin Panda from the Salk Institute and measures the amount of lux (light energy) that you’re being exposed in real time in different environments. The measurements below demonstrate the eye opening difference between the amount of lux (light energy) measured from inside the coffee shop that I’m writing this from here in Thailand at 2:41pm verses the amount gathered outside in direct sunlight at 2:44pm. Exactly how much lux we need to generate vitamin D is complicated, but let’s just say that if start recording the amount of lux that you are getting both inside and outside, these numbers alone should make you want to start and end your day with the sun!
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