They say the best things in life are free, and sunshine is no exception. Sunlight isn’t just beautiful to look at, exposure to the rays of the run offers a number of health benefits that are crucial to your overall functionality, many of which hold the key to making your life healthier and more enjoyable. Following are the key benefits of sunlight exposure.
Strengthens Your Bones
Emerging research suggests that vitamin D3 and bone density are directly correlated. Vitamin D3 is an important vitamin that is formed when your skin is exposed to sunlight. It regulates calcium absorption. Having higher levels of this vitamin in your blood is beneficial as it minimizes the risk of suffering all kinds of bone fractures. Lower levels of vitamin D3 in the blood lead to higher rate of all types of fractures. That’s why exposure to sunlight is particularly important for bone health in older adults.
Boosts Your Mood
Even a minimal amount of sunlight exposure can make a huge difference in our mood. When it’s dark and dreary, we can feel lethargic and depressed. On the other hand, when it’s a beautiful day full of sunlight, we are more energetic and happier. This mood shift is not just an imagination. When light enters your eyes, it stimulates neurons in a part of your brain that regulates mood. When they travel to the pineal gland, these nerve impulses help regulate serotonin, the feel-good hormone.
Improves Your Sleep
If you want to improve your sleep, then it is highly recommended that you catch more rays. The feel-good chemical serotonin increases when you are exposed to sunlight. Serotonin works along with another useful chemical in the brain known as melatonin. Melatonin is produced in darkness and tells your body when it’s time to fall asleep. Both serotonin and melatonin are equally important. Without sufficient serotonin, your brain won’t produce enough melatonin. But you can increase serotonin by spending more time in the sun, which as a result helps to raise your melatonin at night, hence promoting deeper sleep.
Can Give You a Longer Life
A study in 2014 examined the sun habits of about 30,000 women living in Sweden over the course of 20 years. It found that those who avoided exposure to the sun had a higher mortality rate as compared to those who got a lot of sun exposure. It is worth mentioning that the study was observational and didn’t gather details on various other factors that could influence mortality rate, e.g. exercise habits of women. That said, it’s still a very promising indication that getting a little more sun can potentially prolong your life.
In conclusion, exposure to the sun is a part of a healthy lifestyle. Of course, you can always have too much of a good thing. Too much exposure to the sun can be harmful. So, be sure to take precautions and protect yourself while you reap the most benefits possible.
Photos by: Jonathan Borba, Jill Wellington, Susanne Jutzeler, Shihab Nymur, Selvan B