Just for a minute, forget what you have heard about the sunlight up till now, whether it is about skin cancer or harmful ultra-violet radiation. The hotter and sunnier days are on their way. So make sure you know that the right amount of sunlight can bring your loved ones a lot of mood-lifting benefits.
Body exposure to sunlight during the daytime is crucial for your wellbeing. According to recent researches, it is very important to expose your body to sunlight by taking out at least 10 to 15 minutes from your busy life.
Adding a little sunshine to your life not only promotes weight loss but also helps one in depression and seasonal affective disorder. Scroll down to know more health benefits.
Sunlight and serotonin
Both sunlight and darkness stimulate the brain to produce hormones. When the body is exposed to sunlight, it commands the brain to produce the hormone called serotonin. The main function of serotonin is to boost the mood. It helps the person to feel calm, composed and focused. At night, the darkness (darker lightening) stimulates the brain to produce another hormone called melatonin. Melatonin helps a person to sleep peacefully.
Less exposure to the sun can decrease the level of serotonin in the body. Low levels of serotonin can increase the chances of one to get seasonal affective disorder – SAD. The seasonal affective disorder is described as the major depression a person is facing with the seasonal pattern. This form of depression is triggered by the change in seasons.
Not only mood boost is the health benefit of getting a moderate amount of sunlight, but there are several other benefits too.
Sunlight and Mental Health
As it is already mentioned above that less exposure to sunlight results in the fall of serotonin levels making a person go under major depression with the seasonal pattern. There is a frequent change in the level of serotonin because of sunlight which goes through the eye. Sunlight targets special areas in the retina which stimulates the production of the hormone serotonin. So in simple words, one will experience this depression mainly in winter time as in winter days are shorter.
Due to this fact, one of the treatments for seasonal affective depression is light therapy, also called as phototherapy. You can get this treatment at home by having a lightbox. Light from the lightbox will act as the natural light. Lightbox triggers the brain to produce serotonin by decreasing the amount of melatonin present in the body.
Exposure to sunlight can even help those people who are suffering from other major depressions during their pregnancy. Moreover, sunlight may help one with the premenstrual disorder – PMDD too. Changing seasons and sunlight are also linked with anxiety-related disorders and panic attacks.
Other sunlight Benefits
The sun benefits are not just limited to fight stress. Following are the other reasons you need to catch some more rays.
Building Strong Bones
Exposure of skin to ultraviolet-B radiation present in the sun rays produces vitamin D. According to a study of 2008, people wearing swimsuit will be able to make following vitamin D amount in a 30 minute time period.
• Dark skinned people will make 8,000 to 10,000 international units.
• Caucasian people will make 50,00 international units.
• Tanned people will make 20,000 to 30,000 international units.
The vitamin D produced by the sunlight plays an important role in maintaining the bone health. Deficiency of vitamin D in the body leads to bone disintegration diseases like osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Rickets is also one of the vitamin D deficiency disease commonly found in children.
Excess exposure to sunlight can result in skin cancers, while an adequate amount of sunlight can provide you with preventive benefits from cancer.
According to recent studies, people living in the areas where they get fewer daylight hours are more prone to get these specific cancers than those who are living in the areas where the daylight hours are more. These specific cancers include:
• Pancreatic cancer
• Colon cancer
• Ovarian cancer
• Prostate cancer
• Hodgkin’s cancer
Healing Skin conditions
According to World Health Organization (WHO), one of the benefits of sunlight is that it also treats several skin conditions. Many doctors recommend exposure of UV radiation to treat the following skin conditions:
However, light therapy may not work for everyone. It’s preferable if one will consult the doctor about their issue.
Sunlight as a treatment is proved to have a healthy link with other several conditions too. These conditions include:
• Inflammatory bowel disease
• Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
• Systemic lupus erythematosus
However, more researches are needed to be done in order to conclude that sunlight can be a good treatment for these conditions.
Sunlight and Moderation
While there are many reasons to get sunlight, one should remember always that sun emits ultraviolet radiation (UV). Ultraviolet radiation penetrates the skin and damages the cell DNA leading to skin cancer.
Researches do not show the exact amount of sunlight one should absorb neither they show for how long you should expose your body to sunlight in order to achieve the benefits of it. However, the excess amount of sunlight one should avoid can be defined on the basis of skin type and direction of sun rays.
People having fair complexion face sunburn more quickly than people with a darker complexion. A person will also get a sunburn when he will go outside and the sun rays are more direct. One has more chances to get sunburn between 10 a.m and 4 p.m.
According to the research of WHO, getting sunlight on arms, hands, and face for 5 to 15 minutes, 2 – 3 times a week is sufficient to reap the benefits of sunlight. However, do keep in mind that covering your skin either with clothing or sunscreen would not result in the production of vitamin D.
If you are outside more than 15 minutes, then covering yourself is a better option. One can cover himself by applying sunscreen which should have at least a 15 sun protection factor (SPF). Wearing a shirt and a protective hat can also help to cover yourself.
In a nutshell, sunlight has tremendous benefits. So if you live in high altitude areas, having a lightbox will give you the same mood-boosting benefits as sunlight. As excess exposure of sun is associated with skin cancer, so do not stay outside for a longer period without using a sunscreen.