The daily rise and fall of the sun is one of the few reliable occurrences in our lives. Despite this simple cycle controlling the happenings of our planet, we don’t pay much attention to sunlight’s effect on our physical and mental health. And as some neuroscientists are beginning to discover, harnessing its radiant power could provide phenomenal benefits to our well-being.

Every day presents us with all kinds of decisions to make about our lifestyles, and there are plenty of self-diagnosis websites, new age books and mothers-in-law ready to indisputably instruct us on the correct choices we should make. In an attempt to better ourselves, we try to obey their mantras: We sleep eight hours a night; we opt for whole grains instead of white flour; we drag our reluctant bodies on a quick jog; we choose not to open the second bottle of cabernet. But what if there was a more vital factor affecting our health? One that predates gluten alternatives and spin classes?
For the past few billion years, the sun has reliably risen every morning and set every evening. Our bodies have therefore come to expect its daily spiral through the sky, and most of our biological systems work on the assumption that we’ll follow along with its sunlight-based sequence. But now instead of waking with dawn, we have snooze buttons. Instead of dozing at dusk, we have Netflix.Sunlight plays an intrinsic role in our lives and has a profound effect on the way we think and how our bodies function. Through its role guiding our circadian rhythms—the internal clocks that keep us regulated—sunlight can control everything from our sleeping habits to our wintertime melted cheese cravings. Regardless of the thought we put toward our well-being, it’s becoming apparent that the sun could actually be the ironically inconspicuous guru we should be following.