What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the word “sunshine”?
Maybe the beach and summer, or maybe it’s sunburns and skin cancer. Trust me, as a fair-skinned gal myself, I know where you’re you’re coming from.
As summer sets in, most of us can’t wait to get outside. And while we slather on the sunscreen and put on our hats, it might be reassuring to know that the sun isn’t all danger. In fact, there are so many health benefits we can get from a little bit of sun every day.
The Benefits of Sunshine
Sun Exposure Can Boost Your Mood
When you spend time in the sun, your brain releases a hormone called serotonin, which is sometimes referred to as the happy chemical. Serotonin can help boost your mood and also make you feel calm and focused.
You might notice your serotonin levels drop in the winter when there is less sun, but it can also happen anytime of year if you work in an office or spend a lot of time indoors. If you’re not getting enough sun exposure, you might start feeling a bit depressed and lethargic. So get outside and be happy!
Sun Exposure Can Improve Sleep Quality
Another benefit of sunshine that we can all enjoy is a better quality of sleep. While you’re soaking up the rays and increasing your serotonin levels, your melatonin levels drop. Melatonin is the hormone your body produces to help you sleep.
When you get enough sun exposure during the day, your body becomes more efficient at recognizing when it’s nighttime. This means your body won’t be producing as much melatonin during the day (giving you more energy) and you will be able to produce a sufficient amount at night when it’s time for you to go to bed.
Sun Exposure Can Build Strong Bones
We all know that sun exposure helps our bodies produce vitamin D, but what does that vitamin D actually do for us? It stimulates the absorption of calcium, which strengthens our bones!
Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to an increased risk of bone fractures, osteoporosis and even rickets. So it’s not just about getting enough calcium. You need to make sure your body can absorb the nutrients you’re eating.
Sun Exposure Can Help Prevent Cancer
I know what you’re thinking, doesn’t the sun cause cancer, not prevent it? That’s true. Excessive sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. But a moderate amount of sunshine actually has preventive benefits.
Research has found that a vitamin D deficiency can lead to Hodgkin’s lymphoma as well as colon, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate and breast cancers. Keep reading to find out how much sun is too much, and what you should be aiming for each day.
Sun Exposure Can Treat Skin Conditions
Another benefit is that exposure to the sun might help treat several skin conditions including psoriasis, eczema, jaundice, and acne.
It’s worth mentioning that you should consult with your doctors before trying this alternative method of treating these skin conditions.
Sun Exposure Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
It turns out, another benefit of sunshine is that it can prolong our life by reducing our risk of heart attack and stroke.
When sunlight touches our skin, a compound called nitric oxide is released into the blood vessels, causing our blood pressure to drop. Lower blood pressure means a healthier heart.
Sun Exposure Can Boost The Immune System
If you’re someone who gets sick often, you may consider stepping outside. It turns out, another amazing benefit of sunshine is that it can help boost your body’s immune system.
Spending time in the sun increases your white blood cell count and these guys play a major role in defending the body against infections.
Ok so you know that catching some rays is good for you but how do you work it into your daily routine?
Use this Positive Life Change Workbook to learn how to make new habits easily.
Download it for free right here!
How Much Sun Should You Get Every Day?
The general rule is that 10-20 minutes of sun exposure on non-sunscreened skin should do the trick. Aim to get these little spurts of sunshine daily rather than getting a week’s worth of sun in one sitting because then you risk getting sunburned.
If your skin isn’t used to being exposed to the sun, you’ll want to start with just a few minutes a day until you build up a tolerance.
Try to have the sun hit your shoulders, arms, or legs to avoid getting wrinkles on your face and neck.
What if you live in a place with more cloudy days than sunny? You might consider getting a light box that mimics sunlight.
The Risks of Sun Exposure
While all the benefits you’ve just read sound amazing and probably have you heading outside, there are still very real risks to getting too much sun.
Exposing your skin to too much sunlight can increase your risk for melanoma (skin cancer) and, more superficially, can cause winkles. Keep an eye on any moles for noticeable changes. You’ll want to get those checked out by a doctor.
All in all, getting a little sunshine every day will improve your health in so many ways. And if you’re smart about the amount of sun you get, you protect yourself from the risks of overexposure.
Now get out there and catch some rays and share this post with someone who could benefit from a little more sunshine in their life!