10 Benefits of Sunshine: Compelling Reasons You Should Get Some Sun

By Krista

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Last Updated: August 11, 2022

When searching for answers to our health woes or simply wanting to enhance our health in whatever way possible, we often turn to professionals.

And while you absolutely should see your doctor if something isn’t feeling right (these articles should in no way replace advice given to you by your doctor!), what if the answer to optimizing health was right in your own backyard?

Here’s the thing: The benefits of sunshine are truly endless. 

This shouldn’t be a huge surprise since our sleep-wake cycle technically revolves around the sun. While artificial light somewhat changed our sleep patterns, most of us sleep during the darkness of night and live life under the brightness of the sun.

But there’s more to it than that. So, let’s dig into it.

How can sunshine improve your life and health?

Can it actually enhance your mood? How? 

 

 

What Does Sunshine Do for Mental Health?

Sunshine can literally improve your mood and your mental health. This is no joke! 

As previously mentioned, our sleep-wake cycle revolves around the sun. So, here’s what’s happening: Darkness stimulates the release of melatonin. This hormone helps you feel sleepy. Thus, it’s way easier to fall asleep in a dark room than it is with bright lights bearing down on you. 

Exposure to sunlight, on the other hand, suppresses melatonin. But it also stimulates serotonin. In other words, when you expose yourself to sufficient sunlight, you boost your serotonin. As a result, you feel good.

Inevitably, this isn’t all that sun does for us…

Related Article: 9 Things That Aren’t Helping Your Mental Health

 

 

Why Is It Important to Get Sunshine?

“O, Sunshine! The most precious gold to be found on earth.” — Roman Payne

The good ol’ sun makes the world go round. Without it, life on earth might cease to exist. But still, some of us spend all our days inside, barely getting a glimmer of sunshine. So, if this sounds like you, here are 10 reasons you might want to spend your next lunch hour outside!

 

 

10 Benefits of Sunshine You May Not Know 

1. You’ll sleep better.

As per the above, our circadian rhythm runs off the rising and setting of the sun. And as you might already know, your sleep quality and quantity spill over into all other aspects of your life. 

For instance, if you’re more tired, you might feel more grumpy, and you might be more inclined to snap at your partner. This can seriously impact your quality of life interpersonally, as well as your overall health due to the many negative health effects associated to sleep deprivation.

 

2. You’ll feel better.

If sunlight helps stimulate serotonin… well, guess what? With a bit of sun, you’re bound to feel that much better. According to experts, even just 15 minutes a day is enough to reap the benefits (Remember, if you’re exposed to the sun for long durations, it’s always a good idea to use sunscreen and other protective strategies!).

 

3. It improves bone health.

The sun’s rays help your body make vitamin D beneath the skin. And vitamin D helps the body properly absorb calcium and phosphate. As a result, you might just experience improved bone and tooth health.

 

4. It lowers blood pressure.

Exposure to sunlight may help your arteries dilate, leading to decreased blood pressure and improved blood flow. This can give your overall cardiovascular health a much-needed boost!

 

5. It decreases your risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

A recent study demonstrated that the benefits of sunlight may reduce key markers that lead to the development of metabolic syndrome (an umbrella term that involves a variety of health ailments, including high blood pressure, weight gain, high blood sugar, etc.).

 

6. It may reduce inflammation.

Sunlight is well-known to help with inflammatory skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne.

It’s even been thought to help various autoimmune diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease and arthritis. 

 

7. It reduces your risk of depression.

Various research has shown how all-natural light can improve (and reduce the incidence of) depression, bipolar disorder, and more.

It could even be suggested that more than half of society might be sunlight deficient, leading to a variety of mental and physical health issues. 

Related Article: 5 Awesome Benefits of Light Therapy Lamps & Can They Help Depression?

 

8. It increases your energy.

Due to the sun’s relationship with our circadian rhythm, sunlight naturally energizes us.

It tells our brain that we need to be alert and ready, which causes the release of hormones that do just this.

 

9. It strengthens your immunity.

You might have heard… Vitamin D is pretty crucial for optimal immune function.

We get most of our vitamin D from the sun. This can lead to fewer illnesses and infections.

 

10. It might just help you live longer!

All of the above might just mean that you life a longer and healthier life.

Evidence even shows that those who spend time in the sun may live two years longer than those who don’t (pretty convincing, right?).

 

 

What Happens If I Don’t Get Sunlight?

The unfortunate truth is that without sunlight, you risk seasonal depression.

This is due to serotonin levels dropping too low. But that’s not all…

You also may experience:

  • Sleep difficulties
  • Fatigue
  • More illnesses and infections
  • Decreased bone density
  • Tooth decay
  • Aches and pains

And more…

 

 

The Benefits of Sunshine Are Yours for the Taking!

15 minutes. That’s all you need each day to gain the above benefits of sunshine.

Who doesn’t want to live longer and feel their absolute best? 

While you might focus on establishing a healthy diet and exercise plan (great!), don’t forget about getting outside in nature and basking in the healing powers of the sun.

Read Next: 5 Ways to Keep Your Mind & Body Active to Live Healthier and Longer

Photo by Kaique Rocha

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