Spring is around the corner, and before we know it, summer will be in full swing, which means sunnier days are on their way! When we think of the sun, our first thought may be about the harm it can do. But what about the benefits? According to Dr. Marga Boyani, before antibiotics, sunlight was used to speed up the healing of wounds because of its healing properties and germ-killing efficiency. Doctors and natural healers relied on sunlight to treat bone disease, lung infections, epilepsy, lethargy, malnutrition, obesity, and to mend wounds. Indeed too much sun can cause several health issues, but small doses, especially early in the day, can be beneficial in more ways than you think. Take a look!
The sun’s ultraviolet rays help your body make vitamin D, which is highly important for your bones, blood cells, and immune system. It also helps to absorb minerals, like calcium and phosphorus. And while some people get enough vitamin D from food, most don't and can develop a condition called rickets, which softens and weakens the bones, leading to pain and a higher risk of fractures.
Scientists think the sun’s rays can shrink fat cells below your skin’s surface. More sunshine means you’re probably getting more exercise too, this is good for you in many ways, including losing the extra weight! Ideally, you need 20 to 30 minutes between 7 a.m. and noon to make a difference, but the earlier you get it, the better it will work.
Bright light during the day helps set internal clocks to ensure you produce enough melatonin to rest come evening. Early morning sunlight seems to help people get to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night. This may be more important as you age because your eyes are less able to take in light, and you’re more likely to have challenges falling asleep.
It’s important to use sunscreen or a cover-up if you’re going to be outside longer than 15 minutes. But regular, small amounts of ultraviolet light can help ease the symptoms of certain skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and vitiligo. Healthy skin cells regenerate as the layers shed and renew.
Exposure to sunlight is known to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin can help keep you calm, positive, and focused. Lower levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of severe depression. This form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is triggered by the changing seasons.
So How Much Is Too Much?
This answer is different for all of us. It depends on your skin tone, age, health history, diet, and what part of the planet you're on. In general, Scientists think 10 to 15 minutes - up to 30 if you’re rockin' a deeper skin tone - is just about right to get the benefits without causing any health problems. When you need to stay out longer, you can get the same effect by applying sunscreen.
Moderation is important, but get out there, soak up some sunshine, and reap the natural health benefits our planet has to offer!
Love yourself, Love each other