At this point, the recommendations on sunlight exposure sound more like advice for newly-fledged vampires; avoid it at all costs, or perish. But while it’s true that the UV rays are harmful without the right protection, it turns out that underexposure to the sun carries significant health risks similar to smoking, obesity, and being sedentary! Research shows that catching some unfiltered rays, in moderation, can be beneficial for you.
To find out how catching rays can improve your life and health, continue reading.
#1 – Lifts mood
Sunlight triggers the release of serotonin and endorphins – hormones associated with happier mood, less depression, and overall feelings of calmness.
#2 – Gives you a deeper sleep
In addition to the increase in serotonin levels, getting sun exposure during the day can also put you on track for more effective production of melatonin – the hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle. After you’ve had your share of sun rays during the day, your body becomes more efficient at recognizing when it’s time to head to bed.
So, if you’re someone who remains awake at 3 am, tossing and turning, you might want to consider heading out for some sunlight.
#3 – Lowers blood pressure
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, your body releases a compound known as nitric oxide into the blood vessels. This process brings your blood pressure levels down, lowering your risks for suffering from cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and stroke.
#4 – Ramps up production of vitamin D
As you probably already know by now, your skin produces vitamin D – also known as the sunshine vitamin – when exposed to the sun. In addition to regulating mood, vitamin D also plays crucial roles in several bodily functions. Here are three reasons you should care about getting enough vitamin D:
- Keeps your hair healthy – Research shows that vitamin D is only found in the follicles of healthy hair; it’s absent in non-healthy hair. Therefore, this suggests that if you want your locks to look healthy and grow strong, you need to get sufficient vitamin D.
- Strengthens your teeth and bones – Vitamin D enables the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in your gut. These are the two minerals that are essential for maintaining strong and healthy teeth and bones.
- Protects your skin – Studies show that not only can vitamin D help protect the skin from the sun’s damaging effects, but it can also keep inflammation under control, help with cell renewal, and tissue repair.
However, if you’re unable to get exposure to sunlight for any reason, like you’re a shift worker, for example, you can consider getting yourself some vitamin D supplements to meet your needs.
#5 – Reduces risk for some cancers
While sunlight brings elevated chances of skin cancer, many studies have shown associations between sunlight exposure and lower risks of colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer, in addition to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. It’s believed that the production of vitamin D is responsible for these cancer-protective effects.