We often think of sunlight as being a direct threat to our overall health. We worry about wrinkles, sunburns, rashes, and primarily, skin cancer. But, what we tend to overlook is that research now shows that certain exposure to sunlight is extremely beneficial.
Promoting mental health, maintaining healthy vitamin D levels and healthy blood pressure levels, preventing illness, and supporting bone health are just a few of the many reasons why sunlight is essential for humans’ overall well-being.
It is said that midday sunlight is the most beneficial time for you to get the most out of the sun's rays. Right around noon, the sun is at its strongest point. This means that your body can make a sufficient amount of vitamin D in less time than you could around let's say, 3 pm.
Early morning sun is also believed to have a significant change in your overall health. From sleep to eyesight, to weight loss, and just overall mood-boosting wellness. The sun seems to be your friend if you play your cards right.
Morning sunlight can actually benefit you later in the day. It helps set your circadian rhythm up for success. Your body will become in tune with the rising and the setting of the sun, which will not only help you to wake up more refreshed and awake but also help you fall asleep once it gets dark and stay asleep throughout the night.
In 2012 a study done by the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that for each hour a child spent outdoors, the odds of nearsightedness fell by 2%. Genetics is usually to blame for nearsightedness, but what is seemingly becoming even more liable, is not getting enough time outdoors in natural sunlight. Researchers suspect that bright outdoor light helps children’s developing eyes maintain the correct distance between the lens and the retina, which keeps vision in focus. (With this being said, it is still important to remember that this is meant in moderation and that sunlight can be extremely harmful to one's eyes, especially a child’s. Make sure to have sunscreen and eye protection on hand for you and your little ones when you're spending time in the sun.)
Another factor that morning sun can bring to your overall well-being is weight loss. Scientists believe that fat cells shrink below your skin's surface due to the sun's rays. It is recommended to get around 20 to 30 minutes of early morning sun exposure between 8am and noon. However, it is said that the earlier you get it, the better it works.
Finally, if you needed yet another reason to go outside for a while today, sunlight helps boost serotonin in the brain. This gives you more energy, the ability to focus more clearly, a calm response system, and an overall positive mood. In some cases, doctors use natural sunlight to help treat seasonal depression because of the significant increase in serotonin that sunlight creates.
Overall, being active and in natural sunlight is important for you in many ways. Whether you're paddling out for your morning surf session, going for an afternoon run, or just a Sunday stroll with your partner. Make sure to get your daily dose of vitamin D, but remember to apply your sunscreen to protect yourself from the lurking dangers as well.
To a long, healthy, happy life.