The sun, that fiery ball 93 million miles away, is the center of our solar system. Without the sun, our planet would be a lifeless rock — and we would not exist.
Of course, we also know that being in the sun is not all good. Sun exposure can be dangerous to us in excess. If you stay in the sunlight for too long, it can damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer.
You should always protect yourself with clothing, hats, sunscreen, or just frequently getting in the shade, in situations where you will be exposed to the sun for a long length of time. Being at the beach or swimming pools for example, or even long walks with heavy sun exposure.
But by no means should you avoid being in the sun!
In fact, you should make it a point to enjoy sunshine often, in moderation. It can have a great effect on your physical and mental well being!
This article looks at some of the great benefits that sunlight can give you.
5 Benefits of Sunlight
When sun shines, it not only brightens our day; it enlightens us, our soul, cleansing it of the gloominess that the night’s darkness had brought in.Tista Ray
Vitamin D has many benefits for your body, and a lack of it has been associated with bad health.
When sunlight hits your skin, it interacts with your cholesterol and produces vitamin D.
One of the biggest benefits of having a good supply of vitamin D is that it helps build healthy and strong bones. This is due to Vitamin D enabling your body to absorb calcium.
A lack of Vitamin D has been associated with:
- Some cancers
- high blood pressure
- Muscle weakness
There has been evidence that Vitamin D can help prevent diabetes and improve your heart health, but more evidence is needed to be conclusive.
Sunlight during the day, especially in the morning, helps you sleep better at night.
This is due to the early sunlight helping to keep your sleep cycle synchronized.
Morning sunlight sets the stage for the production of serotonin and melatonin when you go to bed at night — and these things help you sleep.
So try a 30-minute walk in the sun — without sunglasses — early in the morning, to sleep more soundly at night.
Lower Blood Pressure
Studies have shown that spending time in the sun can lower your blood pressure.
This appears to be due to the sun’s reaction with the nitric oxide in your skin that which causes blood vessels to expand.
Of course the sun should not be thought of as the sole means of lowering your blood pressure. You should always work with your doctor in managing high blood pressure. However, the sun does appear to have a positive effect on this condition.
In fact, it appears that not getting enough sun may even be a risk factor for getting high blood pressure in the future if you do not already have it.
Reference this study on the effects of sunlight on blood pressure for more information.
Improve your Mood
We’ve all probably felt our moods lift as we get out in the sunshine. I know I have.
And there is science to back this up! Studies have shown that your brain produces more serotonin mood-lifting hormones when you are exposed to sunlight.
This coupled with the sun helping you relax in general and sleep better at night contributes positively to your mood.
Helps Children’s Eyes (in Moderation)
First a warning for everyone — the sun can damage your eyes if you are in it too long. So be safe and wear UV blocking sunglasses when in the sun for a significant amount of time.
And of course, you should never look at or near the sun!
That being said, studies have shown that children we spend more time in the sun could reduce their risk of becoming nearsighted. Young children should spend at least 10 hours a week in sunlight for this benefit.
Being in the sun is a mixed blessing, and if you are not careful, can do more harm than good. However, in moderation, being in the sunshine is very good for you!
1. Benefits of sunlight: a bright spot for human health. Environ Health Perspect. 2008