Children playing outside.

We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep for our kids. But did you know that getting them some morning sunshine can be just as important? Research suggests that morning light does a lot of great things such as, improving sleep, mood, and even cognitive function. Read on to discover why morning light makes happy kids.

Tuning Your Child’s Internal Clock

A clock

Our bodies have an amazing internal clock that maintains our circadian rhythm. This 24-hour cycle regulates important functions, including sleep, wakefulness, hormone production, and even digestion. In order to keep this rhythm, your child’s external cues need to stay synchronized with the day-night cycle, and that’s where sunshine comes in.

The Melatonin Connection

Morning light acts like a powerful signal to our bodies. When sunlight hits your child’s eyes, it triggers the suppression of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Think of melatonin as a dimmer switch for our alertness. The more melatonin circulating, the sleepier we feel. By suppressing melatonin production in the morning, sunlight essentially “brightens” our internal state, promoting wakefulness and alertness.

Mom and child reading at bedtime.

Morning Light and a Better Bedtime

When your child’s internal clock is in sync with the natural light-dark cycle, they’re more likely to fall asleep easily at night and experience deeper, more restorative sleep. This translates to fewer nighttime battles, a well-rested child, and hopefully a more peaceful night’s sleep for you too!

Sunshine with the words vitamin D.

Sunny Vitamin D

Vitamin D, often called the “sunshine vitamin,” is a crucial nutrient for our bodies, and children are especially reliant on it for proper growth and development.

Building Strong Bones

Vitamin D plays a vital role in calcium absorption, the building block for healthy bones. Without enough Vitamin D, children are at risk of developing rickets, a condition that causes soft, weak bones and can lead to deformities. Morning sunlight triggers Vitamin D production in the skin, ensuring your child’s body has the necessary resources to build strong bones and a sturdy foundation for a healthy skeleton.

Immune System Booster

Vitamin D isn’t just about bones. It also plays a key role in supporting a healthy immune system, our body’s defense system against germs and illness. Studies suggest that adequate Vitamin D levels can help protect children from respiratory infections, ear infections, and even autoimmune diseases. By adding morning sunshine into their routine, you’re giving their immune system a natural boost to help them fight off bugs and stay healthy.

A rocket blasting off.

Mood Regulation

Sunlight exposure has been shown to have a positive impact on mood and well-being. This can be especially helpful for children who struggle with low mood or irritability.

Happy Hormones

Sunlight plays a crucial role in regulating the production of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers in our brain. One key player here is serotonin, often referred to as the “happy hormone.” When sunlight hits the retina in our eyes, it triggers a cascade of reactions that lead to increased serotonin production.

Making Morning Sunshine a Priority

Sometimes getting outside with kids first thing in the morning is easier said than done. Here are a few ideas to help:

  • Breakfast with a View: Even a short burst of sunshine can be beneficial. Skip the usual breakfast routine and have a quick bite on the balcony, patio, or even by an open window.
  • The Power of Play: Forget screen time in the mornings! Encourage outdoor play with a short burst of sunshine. Play catch in the backyard, or do some sidewalk chalk art.
  • Double Duty Sunshine: Combine morning errands with some sunshine time. Help your child walk or bike to school if possible. Even small visit to the mailbox can provide a welcome dose of light.

Final Thoughts

Sunshine is a natural mood booster and health enhancer for kids. It gets them moving, strengthens their bodies, and even brightens their spirits. So next time your hesitant to go outside first thing in the morning, just do it! Throw open the windows, head to the park, and let the sunshine work its magic on your little ones.

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