Chasing the Sun Book Summary - Chasing the Sun Book explained in key points
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Chasing the Sun summary

Linda Geddes

The New Science of Sunlight and How it Shapes Our Bodies and Minds

4.2 (100 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

Chasing the Sun by Linda Geddes is a fascinating exploration of the importance of sunlight for health and wellbeing.
It delves into the science behind how sunlight affects our mood, sleep, and immune system and offers practical tips for getting more sun safely.

Table of Contents

    Chasing the Sun
    Summary of 6 key ideas

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    Key idea 1 of 6

    Each of us has an inner clock that coordinates body functions and it’s influenced by the sun.

    If you’ve ever found yourself waking up at the same time every day without the aid of an alarm clock, you’re familiar with your body’s internal clock. There’s actually a lot of internal timing going on in your body, which allows its many functions and processes, such as digestion, to run smoothly.

    What you may not know is that in each of us there’s a single master clock called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN. It’s essentially a group of around 20,000 cells that reside in your hypothalamus, a small region in the center of your brain that plays an important role in many functions, like regulating hormones in the body. The SCN coordinates your circadian rhythms, which are the routine, daily processes your body goes through in order to run as efficiently as possible.

    In the morning, certain hormones need to kick in, blood pressure needs to rise, and muscles and energy levels need to get into gear so you can go about your day with strength and vigor. Likewise, in order for you to have a peaceful night’s rest, your blood pressure and core body temperature need to decrease at bedtime. For this to happen at the right time, your circadian rhythms need to be in sync with the time of day.

    Your body performs a very different set of functions once you fall asleep compared to when you're awake. It is your SCN and circadian rhythms that make sure the right processes take place at the right time. 

    So what is primarily responsible for setting this internal clock and making sure it stays on time? The sun. When the sun sets and light fades, it is a trigger for our bodies to start easing into nighttime mode and getting ready for bed. And then, when your eyes catch sunlight in the morning, it is the cue to shut off hormones like melatonin, that help you sleep, and turn on the hormones that make you hungry for breakfast.

    These rhythms are embedded deep in your DNA and can be traced back to the very primitive cyanobacteria that human life evolved from. Plants also have their own circadian rhythms related to the sun and the daily work that needs to be done. Some flowers, like morning glories, open up at sunrise while others, like petunias, open up after sunset since they’re pollinated primarily by moths that are active at night.

    Humans are no different, our bodies depend upon the sun to function efficiently.

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    What is Chasing the Sun about?

    Chasing the Sun (2019) delivers a fascinating account of the sun’s influence on our day-to-day lives. Throughout history, humans have worshipped the sun and touted its restorative, healing properties. As author Linda Geddes explains, science clearly shows that the sun is one of the most important elements of our health and well-being.

    Chasing the Sun Review

    Chasing the Sun (2019) is a fascinating exploration of the crucial role sunlight plays in our lives. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It uncovers the undeniable influence of sunlight on our wellbeing, from regulating our sleep-wake cycles to impacting our mood and health.
    • Through in-depth research and interviews with experts, the book presents a thorough understanding of how sunlight affects our daily lives, offering valuable insights.
    • With its captivating anecdotes and compelling storytelling, the book ensures that readers embark on an illuminating journey, making the science accessible and engaging.

    Best quote from Chasing the Sun

    Controversial as it sounds, the finding fits with other studies that have associated low vitamin D levels with shorter life expectancy.

    —Linda Geddes
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    Who should read Chasing the Sun?

    • Science geeks
    • Winter blues sufferers
    • Healthy lifestyle seekers

    About the Author

    Linda Geddes is a journalist who specializes in the sciences of technology, biology, and medicine. She’s worked as both a writer and editor for New Scientist, and has been the recipient of the Best Investigative Journalism award from the Association of British Science Writers.

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    Chasing the Sun FAQs 

    What is the main message of Chasing the Sun?

    The main message of Chasing the Sun is the importance of sunlight for our health and well-being.

    How long does it take to read Chasing the Sun?

    The reading time for Chasing the Sun varies, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Chasing the Sun a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Chasing the Sun is a fascinating and thought-provoking book that sheds light on the vital role sunlight plays in our lives.

    Who is the author of Chasing the Sun?

    The author of Chasing the Sun is Linda Geddes.

    What to read after Chasing the Sun?

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