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The Unheard-of Benefits of Sunlight

The typical notion about the sun’s rays is that they are harmful to our skin and cause skin cancers. At a young age, we were told not to stay out in the heat of the sun too long for we can get skin diseases or burn our skin—the latter is true.

But are you aware of the sunlight’s benefits to our physical and mental health? Of course, too much sunlight is bad, and too little is bad too. When we said benefits—we were pertaining to getting them from spending an adequate amount of time under the sun.

We understand that it is easy to dismiss the unknown benefits of sunlight to us because of the prejudice we got from our childhood when it comes to the effects of the sun’s rays.

Worry not, for we are here to shine a light on the benefits of the sun’s rays that you thought did not exist:

1. Sunlight improves your mood

Both darkness and sunlight trigger hormone production in our brains. Enough exposure to the sun’s rays contributes to the brain’s production of the hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is liked with mood-boosting effects and produces feelings for calmness and improves focus.

When it is dark, the release of a hormone called melatonin is triggered. This hormone is responsible for helping us fall asleep. Take this as a note that a way to help yourself fall asleep or get a good quality of sleep is to sleep in rooms that are dark enough for you to sleep in.

2. It helps aid seasonal pattern depression

Without the sun’s rays shining on your body, your brain will produce less of the mood-boosting serotonin. A lack of serotonin can lead to major depression based on the pattern of the seasons.

When you are exposed to less sunlight—which can happen if you do not go out or when it is winter and the days are shorter—you are more likely to experience this type of depression.

In treating major depression with seasonal pattern, light therapy or phototherapy is the common method. A light therapy box at home can help mimic the natural sunlight that can also stimulate the brain to produce serotonin and lessen the production of melatonin.

3. It helps prevent cancer

Now, this may sound new to you, but according to researchers, individuals who live in places with lesser hours of daylight are more prone to specific types of cancers than those who live in places with more sunlight during the day. The specific cancers are:

  • Colon cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Pancreatic cancer

woman outside

4. It helps treat skin conditions

The World Health Organization (WHO) found that exposure to sunlight can help treat skin conditions such as:

  • Jaundice
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne
  • Eczema

However, light therapy does not work for everyone. It is recommended that people with skin concerns consult a dermatologist to find the best way to treat their skin issues.

5. It strengthens our bones

Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet-B radiation can trigger a person’s skin to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a vital role in our bone health. It has been found that low levels of vitamin D are linked to rickets, a skeletal disorder common among children aged 6 to 36 months.

Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to osteoporosis and osteomalacia in adults.

How much sunlight is enough?

We have mentioned the benefits of its rays—not without noting that sunlight should be moderated in order for it to not cause harm to our bodies.

Too much ultraviolet radiation can penetrate the skin, damage cell DNA, and lead to skin cancer.

Unfortunately, there is no sound evidence on how much sunlight is enough to not cause harm and help our bodies in numerous ways. The closest way that was defined by experts is that the threshold is defined by our skin type and how direct the sun’s rays are.

Fair-skinned individuals get sunburned easier than those with darker skin. Sunburn is also heightened by how direct the sunlight is to your skin. To researchers, the direct sunlight hours are from 10 in the morning to four in the afternoon.

WHO has advised that five to 15 minutes of sunlight on your upper body at least two to three times a week is sufficient to produce vitamin D boosting benefits.

They also noted that sunscreen and clothing can interfere with the sun’s penetration to our skin. However, WHO noted that if you will be staying under the sun for more than 15 minutes, applying sunscreen with at least 15 sun protection factor (SPF) and wearing clothing is highly advised to prevent adverse effects of too much sun exposure.

If you want to reap the benefits of sunlight exposure, it is high time to go out more or reach out to sunroom builders. They can provide you with a place with adequate sun rays that will not only boost your mood but will keep you physically healthy.

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