Imagine this scenario: You are just about to leave for the beach and you are pacing around your home trying to figure out what you are missing. Oh, it’s sunscreen!
This is a situation that most of us have experienced, and it stems from a constant worry of sun damage that commercials and the media have drilled into our minds. We are constantly told how too much exposure to sunlight causes skin cancer and other health hazards, which has resulted in increased paranoia and more searching for shaded areas and SPF. This protection is important, but as much as we defend ourselves from sunlight, we must also make sure that we enjoy all the health benefits that exposure to the sun brings. The right amount of exposure to sunlight, especially in the morning, can help us obtain an optimal amount of vitamin D, in addition to a boost of mental and internal health.
Sunlight Reduces Blood Pressure
Optimal exposure to sunlight helps reduce blood pressure, therefore majorly lessening the risk of heart problems and strokes in the future. Research has proven that an adequate amount of exposure to sunlight releases a significant amount of a chemical compound in our blood, nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is known to dilate our arteries, therefore reducing our blood pressure.
Sunlight Induces Improved Sleep
The circadian rhythm, an internal cycle, helps carry out the essential functions of our bodies and executes daily activities, in addition to playing a major role in our sleeping and waking cycles.
Sunlight is a large component and facilitator of the circadian clock, sleeping, and alertness. Exposure to bright light in the morning shifts your sleeping time to an earlier hour, therefore causing you to fall asleep sooner than usual. By understanding the circadian cycle, you can adjust your daily exposure to sunlight in order to receive a better sleep and stay alert during the day.
Sunlight Provides Vitamin D
Sunlight is considered to be the best source of natural vitamin D, meaning that exposing yourself to sunlight for at least 15 minutes daily can help your body produce enough of this essential vitamin to keep you strong the whole day.
During sunlight exposure, 7-dehydrocholesterol in your skin absorbs UV B radiation and is converted to pre-vitamin D3, which in turn isomerizes into vitamin D3. However, though various benefits come from an increased amount of Vitamin D within our bodies, we have to be conscious of how much time we are staying in the sun due to possible sunburns and health damage.
Sunlight Boosts Your Mood
Serotonin, also referred to as the “happiness hormone”, is responsible for keeping us calm and alert, and the production of it is directly linked to sunlight exposure. Less exposure to sunlight detrimentally decreases serotonin levels, which increases the risk of seasonal affective disorder, a depression triggered by changing seasons.
In summation, apart from the above benefits, sunlight also helps heal skin conditions, strengthens our bones, and reinforces our immune system. It is important to keep yourself from experiencing overexposure to sunlight, but at the same time obtaining the necessary vitamins and health benefits is essential. Find your productive and healthy balance today!