Rays of Sunshine - to make you healthy

Rays of Sunshine - to make you healthy

We already know that sunlight is essential for life. It promotes the growth of plants and crops and keeps us warm. Of course, we've also been taught that too much exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer, so we've started being careful with how much time we're spending on it.

However, did you know that sunlight also offers many health benefits? Therefore, while it's essential to protect yourself from too much sun exposure, it's also a good idea to make sure you're getting the health benefits. 

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HEALTH BENEFITS OF SUN EXPOSURE

Many people ask the question: how much is "enough"? The answer depends on various factors, but generally, experts say 5 minutes to 30 minutes a day is enough to get some benefits of sun exposure without risking damage. If you wear sunscreen, you can stay out longer. You'll want to consult with your health professional to determine what's best for you.

Let’s explore some of the major benefits of spending time in the sunlight. 

#1. IMPROVES SLEEP

Research has proven that spending an hour in the morning light will improve your sleep because sunlight tells your body when to increase or decrease melatonin levels. Therefore, the more exposure you can get to the sun, the more melatonin will be produced when it's time to go to sleep. 

#2. DECREASES STRESS

In addition to helping you sleep, melatonin helps to decrease your stress levels. Plus, since you’re typically doing something physical when you’re outside, the extra exercise can help you burn off stress.

#3. STRENGTHENS BONES

Vitamin D helps maintain calcium levels, which leads to strong bones. The best way to get Vitamin D is to spend time outside because our bodies produce it when we're in the sunlight. If you're fair-skinned, 15 minutes a day will be sufficient. 

#4. HELPS KEEP WEIGHT OFF

According to experts, spending approximately 30 minutes in the sunlight between 8 AM and noon helps with weight loss. Of course, there may be some other factors at play, but there does seem to be a correlation between morning sun exposure and weight loss. 

#5. STRENGTHENS IMMUNITY

Another thing that Vitamin D is necessary for is to strengthen your immune system. If your immune system is healthy, you can naturally fight off illness and infections, some forms of cancer, and even help you recover after surgery. 

#6. IMPROVES MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health is vital to your overall health, and there's scientific proof that spending time in the sun improves your mental health. This is because exposure to natural light increases the serotonin production in your body, which keeps you calm, focused, and happy. 

#7. IMPROVES ENERGY LEVELS

We know that exposure to sunlight improves serotonin levels, which boosts mood and focus. If you’re in a good mood, your energy levels are higher, which means you’re more productive. When you don’t get that exposure to the sunlight, your serotonin levels fall, which means your energy and mood decrease.

#8. IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTION

Vitamin D is also linked to brain functioning. One study revealed that patients who had low brain functioning also had low vitamin D levels. However, when exposed to sunlight, nerve cell growth increases in the hippocampus, which is the area of the brain responsible for creating, organizing, and storing memories. 

#9. IMPROVES SKIN CONDITIONS

Exposure to sunlight has been said to help treat skin conditions such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, and jaundice. This is because the sunlight triggers the release of a compound that gets rid of inflammation. The vitamin D boost also helps improve your immune system, which helps slow the progression of skin conditions. 

#10. IMPROVES EYE HEALTH

Some studies have shown that moderate sun exposure, especially as a teen and young adult, can help reduce your chances of nearsightedness.

#11. LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE

One study revealed that when exposed to sunlight, your body naturally releases nitric oxide, a natural compound that helps lower your blood pressure. This was important because, at that time, it was believed that the only health benefit of sun exposure was an increase in vitamin D production. 

#12. DECREASES INFLAMMATION

As we have repeatedly said, sunlight increases vitamin D production, which is essential for many of the functions in our bodies, including our immune system. The immune system can be a powerful anti-inflammatory. Therefore, spend some time in the sunlight for a natural vitamin D boost. 

#13. DECREASES CANCER RISK

Once again, vitamin D to the rescue. Scientists have studied the occurrences of various cancers and compared them based on whether or not the people in that area get sun exposure. The study revealed that those who lived in the southern latitude with more sun exposure were less likely to suffer death from cancer than those who lived in the northern latitude with less sun exposure. 

#14. LONGER LIFE

One study revealed that those who spent more time in the sun lived 6 months to 2 years longer, on average than those who didn't spend much time outside. However, there does need to be more research in this area to confirm this idea. 

HOW TO INCREASE YOUR SUN EXPOSURE

There are several ways to increase the amount of sun you're being exposed to daily.

EAT BREAKFAST IN THE SUN

Studies have shown that morning sun exposure is best because it signals your body to stop producing melatonin. While the UVB rays can’t get through a window to stimulate vitamin D production, you should still at least sit by a window while you eat breakfast.

TAKE A SUN BREAK

To increase your vitamin D levels, make it a point to step outside for at least 15 minutes a day. The best time to do this is in the middle of the day when the sun is strongest, keeping in mind that your arms, legs, and torso absorb the most sun and your hands and face absorb the least. 

TAKE A VACATION

If you work indoors and don't get outside very much, consider taking a vacation. This is especially a good idea if you live in a northern climate that doesn't get much sun in the winter. Go somewhere tropical, where there's plenty of sun to soak in. 

 As you can see, there are several benefits to sun exposure, from improving mood and sleep to helping you live longer. Of course, you want to be smart with your sun exposure and protect yourself from damage. 

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