The sun. It’s at the center of everything. That giant ball of gas and fire dwelling almost a billion miles away in outer space is the reason that we’re all here. It’s something we should both love and fear, but many have come to only fear. Sun-caused skin damage may lead to skin cancer, which is why it’s important to make sure that you protect your skin from UV rays most of the time. However, while the sun is something to be wary of, it’s something too many people take measures to avoid completely. We want you to be careful and cautious, but we also want you to be aware that the sun is, and will forever be, a dear friend when it comes to your health. Too much of anything isn’t good for you, but if you take precaution, the benefits of sunlight will overcome the negatives time after time. Here are a few of the many reasons why:
SUN EXPOSURE GIVES YOU VITAMIN D.
Vitamin D is something we hear about frequently. With news of so many vitamins and other “daily intake requirements” making their ways through the grapevine, it’s hard to keep them all straight. Vitamin D aids in your body’s absorption of calcium, helping your bones to maintain that strong frame of yours. While this is what it’s best known for, studies have also shown that adequate amounts of Vitamin D can help protect against various other diseases and conditions.
THE SUN ALLOWS YOUR BODY TO RELEASE ENDORPHIN’S.
When you get out into the sun, your brain is triggered by those UV rays to release endorphins (another term we may hear frequently but find hard to keep track of). Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that make you happy and boost your energy. There are many ways that endorphins can be released— laughing, for instance, is another. If you’re feeling a little down, go outside and get a few minutes of sunshine. You’ll feel happier and more energetic when you go back inside.
SYNCING YOUR BODY’S CIRCADIAN RHYTHM.
We’ve mentioned circadian rhythms several times in the past, and the topic is relevant once again. Your body’s biological rhythms are connected with the sun, specifically your waking and sleeping rhythms. If you’re feeling tired in the middle of the day, a deficiency might not be the issue at hand. Your body could simply be out of tune with the sun’s natural cycle, which can inhibit you from feeling awake. The best thing you can do to stay in sync with the sun is to make sure you’re exposing yourself to it throughout the day, and avoid harsh lighting at night that might imitate the sun’s light (think: your cell phone or the television).
REDUCES SEASONAL EFFECTIVE DEPRESSION (SAD).
The winter blues are a real thing, especially in northern regions. When your body is deprived of natural, regular sunlight, those endorphins we discussed previously aren’t being released, which decreases happiness. This is especially common in people who work indoors all day, in the presence of artificial lighting and out of the sun’s reach. The best cure for the blues, or for depression, depending on the extremity of the case, is to expose yourself to sunlight.
Sunlight is essential to our health and well-being. Be cautious, and don’t overexpose yourself to the sun, but make sure that you’re regularly exposing yourself to its light for optimal health benefits! You’ll likely feel much happier, get better sleep, and feel more energized as a result; with countless other potential benefits.