Our bodies are meant to be in the sun. While it's true that too much ultraviolet radiation can be harmful, regular sunlight exposure can also improve many aspects of our overall health. New research on the effects of sun exposure is always coming out, but here are 11 ways it's already proven that sunlight is an important asset to you and your family's health:
1. Boosts Bone Health
The sun is an excellent source of vitamin D, which helps the body better absorb calcium. And that improved calcium absorption helps build strong, healthy bones.
2. Boosts the Immune System
Solar energy enables the body to stave off infections and fight disease by boosting the immune system. Sunlight does this by stimulating the immune systems' vitamin D and T cells.
3. Contributes to Weight Loss
Believe it or not, exposure to sunlight helps control your appetite. This is because hunger is controlled by the hypothalamus, a.k.a. the part of your brain that works with serotonin to help relieve hunger. Lack of sunlight causes a drop in serotonin levels and keeps the hypothalamus from doing its job, which leaves you not able to feel full and can lead to overeating.
4. Fights Skin Disorders
We tend to hear that we should avoid getting too much sun to help with skin health. But some doctors believe that sunshine may actually be able to fight certain skin diseases by attracting immune cells to the skin surface. In clinical experiments, UV radiation exposure has been proven to help treat eczema, acne, and psoriasis.
5. Helps Alzheimer's Symptoms
Alzheimer's patients exposed to bright, natural light encounter fewer symptoms of depression, agitation, and nighttime wakefulness, research shows.
6. Helps Depression & Seasonal Affective Disorder
As we mentioned before, sunlight has a big effect on serotonin production in the brain. In fact, the brain produces more serotonin on sunny days than dark days. So, those with depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) may feel fewer symptoms after spending time in the sun. Even if you don't have depression or SAD, spending 10-15 minutes in the sun each day helps promote feelings of happiness and keeps you in a better mood.
7. Improves Brain Function
You've probably figured out by now that the sun seriously affects our brains, and that includes the pineal gland! The pineal gland produces melatonin, which is a powerful antioxidant that's aides in sleep quality and preventing depression.
8. Improves Sleep
Going along with that last point, research suggests exposure to morning sunlight is linked to better sleep and overall health. Sunlight helps keep your circadian rhythm in check, so getting less morning light can actually make it more difficult for you to fall asleep and wake up at your preferred times.
9. Lowers Blood Pressure
We all know high blood pressure is extremely dangerous, but did you know that exposure to sunlight is one way to keep it low? Research has shown that the nitric oxide stored in the top layer of the skin reacts to sunlight in a way that causes blood vessels to widen as the oxide moves into the blood stream.
10. Promotes Eye Health
Now, we're obviously not saying to go stare at the sun, but regular sunlight exposure can promote your eye health. vitamin D has been linked to improved vision as well as helping retain eyesight as we age.
11. Reduces Cancer Risk
That special sun vitamin helps once again: from a scientific standpoint, vitamin D helps reduce the risk of many forms of cancer and can even increase survival rates once certain cancers reach a detectable stage. There's also research to suggest that sun exposure may be even more helpful for men at risk for developing kidney cancer.
So now that you know the benefits, wanna hear a secret to getting more sunlight inside throughout the day? It's skylights! Okay, so it's not that big of a secret, but skylights are a great way to incorporate more natural daylight throughout your home so you can soak up even more of it.