Looking for something to do with the kids this weekend? Consider doing it at sunrise. You'll find a different experience than mid-day sunlight, with powerful effects on our bodies.
There's a unique sense of accomplishment for those who rise and start their days before sunrise. Getting out before the rest of the world, no line at the coffee shop, and if you're lucky enough, seeing the last of the night's critters scurrying back to their daytime shelters. Get your kids out for this. If they are less than excited about getting out early, let them do it at their speed and comfort. There's nothing wrong with a walk in the park in PJs, sipping something warm. Not everyone is a morning person, some naturally, and many by habit.
The biggest reason most kids and adults don't get up early is because they stay up late. Artificial light modifies the human circadian clock, and almost all of us live in houses full of lights and a phone that is shining in our eyes, often until we fall asleep, far past sundown. If we make just a few minor adjustments, kids will have better sleep habits, clearer minds, less anxiety, and a sleep schedule that ensures good health.
Sunrises aren't just for romantic movie scenes. Sunrises have been inspiring earth life to wake for eons. Even the light shining over the horizon before the sun is visible is essential. The shape of the earth and the atmosphere surrounding it bend the sunlight into different spectrums and intensities. Those spectrums deliver life-giving energy to every living thing on the planet, including us.
Leaving a warm, comfortable bed standing in the cool morning air can be challenging to watch the sunrise. But repeatedly attending to the rising sun will boost your immune system, improve your mood, and reduce depression and anxiety. You can try substituting sunlight with bright lights in your home, but it's not the same. The sun delivers tens to hundreds of thousands of lumens of light to the earth's surface. No light fixture in the house even comes close.
As soon as the sun breaks above the horizon, look toward it. Not at it, but just off to the side or at the landscape around the sunrise. Feel the warming effect of the light on your face, chest, and hands. Because of the angle of the sun this early in the morning, instead of getting a burn, your skin builds hormones and chemicals protecting itself, vitamin D is delivered to our bloodstream, organs, and brains, and our eyes (uncovered by glasses or shades) process the light into beneficial energies. Our mitochondria, the cellular powerhouse of our bodies, is fortified, energized, and enriched. When we watch a sunrise, we grow healthier in many ways.
All of this can happen in the setting of your choice. Lounge with your kids with warm drinks and blankets on the deck or lawn outside your home, or hike your closest trail. It doesn't matter, just get outside and face the rising sun. Do this repeatedly this summer; you and your kids may be surprised at how you'll long for your morning healing, happy sun year-round.