It’s no secret that you often feel better after a walk in the sunshine. It may come as a surprise however, that direct sunlight has a ton of mental and physical benefits.
Feeling the sunshine on your skin can affect everything from your mood to your immune system. This guide will go over the many benefits of direct sunlight and how daily access to rays of sunshine can help you feel your best.
Here’s a round-up of everything you need to know about the power of the sun and your health.
1. Improves Your Mood
If you feel a little gloomy on dark winter days, you’re not alone. A seasonal condition known as SAD or seasonal affective disorder is a form of depression that is felt in the winter.
In certain regions of the country, it can get dark fairly early in the evening and it will remain dark until well into the morning. While this can cause anyone to feel a little down, people suffering from SAD can feel mild symptoms of depression.
As with optogenetics, light can be used to control cells in living tissue. Light can also raise your levels of serotonin. This chemical is your body’s natural way of boosting your mood.
Even just moderate sun exposure can help reduce the side effects of seasonal depression. If you live in an area where the sun is scarce, take some time at lunch to go for a walk or sit outside. If you have workspaces near windows, open the blinds and let the sunshine in.
2. Helps Skin Conditions
The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests sun exposure to treat a number of skin conditions. If you suffer from psoriasis, jaundice, eczema, or acne exposing your skin to direct sunlight can help.
While baking in the sun for hours isn’t recommended, if you’re properly applying sunscreen, the benefits to these common skin conditions actually outweigh the risks of skin cancer.
A recent study shows that therapy involving sunbathing had a positive effect on 85% of participants with psoriasis.
Talk with your doctor before trying any sun therapy at home and make sure to use precautions to protect against the sun’s UV radiation.
If your newborn was born with jaundice, doctors often recommend exposure to sunlight as a treatment. Parents can try sitting near a window, taking long walks in the stroller, or going for a drive on sunny days. Often times, this is enough to prevent jaundice from worsening.
Babies with serious cases of jaundice will need to undergo light therapy treatments.
3. Improves Your Bone Health
Vitamin D has well-known benefits for the health of your bones. Vitamin D actually stimulates your body to absorb calcium and phosphorus.
When the sunlight hits your skin it will signal your body to manufacture this powerful vitamin. Low levels of vitamin D3 in your bloodstream, can make you more susceptible to broken bones.
If you are suffering from low levels of vitamin D, consider spending more time in the sun to help strengthen your bones.
For elderly and older adults, it is especially important to be exposed to direct sunlight. As you age, make getting outside for long stretches of time a priority.
4. Sun Exposure Helps You Sleep
While you may think that a bright sunny day will keep you awake, it may surprise you to learn that the sun can actually help you sleep.
Your body follows a natural circadian rhythm. This is nature’s way of regulating when to feel sleepy and when to be awake. The more sunlight you’re exposed to the wider awake you’ll feel during the day.
This directly translates to feeling more tired come nightfall. This can help you drift off to sleep easier and stay asleep. A lack of sleep can have a lot of negative effects on your mood and health.
When you don’t get enough sleep, you may find it hard to focus. You can also feel more stress and anxiety.
Give your body the rest it needs by getting outside during the day. Open your windows, take walks, go for a run, and sit in the sun even just for a few minutes.
A few minutes of direct sunlight a day will help your body regulate its natural rhythm and can greatly improve the quality of your sleep.
5. Boosts Your Immune System
Exposure to sunlight can help your body fight off infections. The sun can also help your body with an overactive immune system. An overactive immune system is responsible for psoriasis and several other conditions.
This is why sunlight is so important in treating psoriasis and other skin conditions and autoimmune diseases.
The sun also helps your body produce more white blood cells. White blood cells are what helps your body fight off infections.
Getting your daily dose of sunlight may help reduce your chances of getting sick. This is especially important in the winter when sunny days occur less often. Winter is also notorious for an influx of infection.
For kids and babies, getting them outdoors and in the sunlight can help keep them healthier and sick less often.
The Power of Direct Sunlight
Direct sunlight is a true powerhouse when it comes to your mental and physical health. Not only does the sun’s rays help you fight off infection, but it can also improve your bone health.
Daily sun exposure will help you sleep better, boost your mood, and even cure some skin conditions.
If you’re struggling with seasonal depression, getting out in the sun can do wonders for your mental health. Take advantage of sunny days and get outdoors whenever possible.
Arm yourself with sunscreen and take a walk, enjoy lunch outside, and open up the curtains whenever the sun is shining.
For more health and fitness resources, head to the blog section for great lifestyle tips.