Do you struggle with sleep issues? If so, you’re not alone. 30% to 40% of U.S. adults suffer with insomnia symptoms at some point during the year. There are many behavioral practices that can help get you back on track, and one of our favorites is a very simple trick: stepping out into the sun first thing in the morning. Being in natural light helps our bodies produce serotonin, which is the precursor to melatonin, the hormone which helps regulate our sleep and wake cycles. Thus, getting some sunlight first thing helps our bodies get the raw materials that will help us produce melatonin as the day winds down. Nathaniel Watson, MD, a sleep specialist and professor of neurology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, says sunlight is the single most important element for setting our circadian rhythm, and morning light is key. And best of all, it’s easy! Just 15 minutes of morning sunlight exposure will do the trick, but any is better than none. So, go on a morning walk, eat your breakfast outside, or read a chapter of your book in your lawn chair–whatever works best for you!

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