Watching the sunrise can improve mood, inspire awe, and reduce inflammation.

Compared to just a few decades ago, we spend more time indoors and far too little time enjoying and engaging with nature.

Today, even a trip to the park or the beach often involves staring at our phones. This disconnection from the natural world has taken a toll on our health, both mentally and physically.

People who watch the sunrise every morning receive numerous benefits: better mood, stronger immune system, a feeling of awe, and a big picture mentality.

How do you think your perspective would change if you watched the sun come up?

Here are ten benefits to watching the sunrise. Even if you live in an urban environment — as over half of the world’s population does today — you can still walk outside and find a good angle to watch sunlight first appear.

Reduces inflammation

We’ve all witnessed a breathtaking sunrise or sunset. These moments contribute to a feeling of awe, which research has shown has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body.

One study found that feeling positive emotions — especially the awe we feel from nature, art, or spiritual experiences — is linked to lower levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (proteins that cue the immune system to work harder).

Improves mood

Research from 2013 shows a direct link between sunlight and serotonin, the body’s feel-good chemical.

When sunlight stimulates the retinas in your eyes, it triggers your brain to produce serotonin. In contrast, a lack of sunlight can contribute to depression, as is seen in seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Vitamin D is also important for mood, as it plays a role in serotonin production and release. About 50-90% of vitamin D is absorbed through the skin via exposure to sunlight. To get enough vitamin D, experts recommend 20 minutes of daily sunshine with over 40% of the skin exposed.

Promotes healthy circadian rhythm

Exposing yourself to early morning light helps develop a healthy circadian rhythm, allowing you to get more restful sleep at night.

A 2017 study found that people who were exposed to more light in the morning (8am to noon) fell asleep more quickly at night and had fewer sleep disturbances compared to those who were exposed to less light.

Reduces stress

There is a lot of evidence that being in nature for just a few minutes can reduce stress.

One review found that it takes as little as 10 minutes in a natural setting for college students to feel happier and reduce the effects of stress both physically and mentally.

Time away from devices

We spend a good chunk of our days on our phones and computers. Carving out a little time every morning for nature allows us to take a much-needed break from these devices.

Helps you lose weight

This one is surprising, but getting up early to watch the sunrise every day may even help you lose extra fat. Research from 2014 shows that morning light exposure influences body fat, as well as levels of appetite-regulating hormones.

Restores attention

A theory called attention restoration theory (ART) suggests that spending time in nature, or even just looking at it, can reduce mental fatigue and boost concentration.

The theory posits that the brain can only focus on a specific stimulus or task for a limited amount of time. But exposure to the natural environment promotes more effortless brain function and allows your brain to recover and restore its ability to concentrate.

Reduces depression

Apart from the natural mood boost of watching a beautiful sunrise, simply getting up extra early can help reduce depression. A large study found that waking up just one hour earlier could lower the risk of major depressive disorder by 23%.

Puts life into perspective

Just like witnessing a beautiful mountain range or a dramatic thunderstorm, there’s something magical about watching the sun rise or set.

These moments help put things in perspective and remind us of the bigger picture. Even our problems seem minuscule when viewing them from a bird’s-eye view.

Contributes to a healthy routine

What could be better than starting off your morning with a colorful sunrise? This practice allows you to start the day with a calm and peaceful vibe. And if you make it a daily habit, it can contribute to a regular routine, which research has shown contributes to a healthy lifestyle.

While it might seem difficult to wake up early enough to watch the sunrise, perhaps we can be persuaded by the numerous benefits it offers.

Research has shown that watching the sunrise may help boost our moods, reduce inflammation and depression, and even help us get better sleep at night.

And if you’re already getting up early, then simply take the time to step outside and get your daily dose of beauty and inspiration. Try it for a week and see what happens.