Here comes the sun, do do do do!

I am so excited to be writing this article for you as there is nothing I love more than the sun and all that it provides for me! Like many others, I am a huge advocate for the mental and physical benefits the sunshine has to offer. I truly believe that sunlight is essential for the well-being of humans! In this article, I will explain why you should be getting more sun on your skin and (hopefully) inspire you to go outside more often!

What is sunlight?

Essentially, sunlight is a portion of the electromagnetic radiation is given off by the sun, in particular infrared, invisible and ultraviolet light. By the time the Sun’s light has reached Earth’s surface, it has already been scattered and filtered through our atmosphere. Earth’s atmosphere does an excellent job of protecting us from the Sun’s unfiltered rays that would burn us to a crisp, giving us the perfect balance needed for life on Earth to thrive.

Sunlight not only helps us survive but it also helps us thrive! Let’s talk about the benefits of sunshine.

Why do we need sunlight?

Of course, we need sunlight to bounce off of our surroundings in order to see what is around us during the day. However, sunlight has a lot more to offer than that.

Have you ever noticed how your mood naturally lifts when you are exposed to sunlight? We can thank something called vitamin D for this! Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, gives us energy. Although you can get vitamin D from food and supplements, getting it from the sun is essential for wellbeing and physical health. Vitamin D is necessary for key biological processes to take place in the body. Here are a few:

  • managing calcium levels
  • supporting healthy bones
  • reducing inflammation
  • supporting the immune system and glucose metabolism
  • skin recovery and health

Researchers have noted a strong link between exposure to the sun and low blood pressure levels, with reduced rates of cardiovascular issues. They have suggested that exposure to the sun triggers the skin to release stores of nitrogen oxides, which can cause arteries to dilate, lowering blood pressure and reducing the impact of metabolic syndrome!

How sunshine improves wellbeing

women holding a sun

It is no secret that getting enough sun will have a positive effect on your mental health. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun help us in a variety of areas, offering us a sense of overall wellbeing. Here is a list of areas that the sun can assist you with:

  • boosting immune system
  • relieving pain
  • reducing depression
  • decreasing anxiety
  • increased energy
  • promoting productivity
  • mood stabilising
  • increasing relaxation

There is no doubt that the list above would help someone feel better overall in regard to their mental health. Of course, exposing yourself to sunshine every day will not fix all of your problems for you, however, it can be used as an effective tool for self-improvement. When your body and mind are benefiting from something, you will experience a positive and noticeable effect on yourself as a whole.

Sunlight and your circadian rhythm

Something I do not see being discussed as often is how sun exposure affects your sleep. Your circadian rhythm, or circadian cycle, is a natural internal process that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. You have an internal clock that allows this cycle to repeat roughly every 24 hours. The light-dark cycle of the sun has a powerful effect on the circadian clock, alertness and sleep. If you understand the effects that sunlight has on your sleep cycle, you can manipulate your light exposure to help yourself sleep better at night and be more alert during the day.

Sunshine is an exceptional tool for optimizing your sleep schedule. Are you someone who typically hates opening your curtains in the morning? While this may be unpleasant, it is one of the easiest ways to optimize your sleep schedule!

You don’t necessarily have to open all of your curtains seconds after waking up for it to have an effect. All I am saying is to try and expose yourself to as much sunlight during the day as possible to help your sleep cycle operate to your advantage!

Happy Hormones

women practising morning yoga

Let’s talk hormones! Specifically, let’s talk about serotonin and melatonin. Relaxing in the sun helps your body soak up serotonin, also known as the happy hormone. Serotonin is most well known for its mood-boosting properties.

Not to mention, it also works with your circadian rhythm (mentioned above), allowing you to get higher quality sleep each night. Working in tandem with serotonin is melatonin, a chemical in your brain that lulls you into slumber. The sun also helps your body produce this! Have you ever laid in the sun for a while and been left feeling very tired? That would be the melatonin production!

Find a balance

While the daily sun is best for mental and physical wellbeing, too much sun can be extremely damaging. Having too much unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause severe long-term skin damage, eye damage and even skin cancer. Even those in their twenties can develop skin cancer from getting too much sun!

Try to find a balance and enjoy the sun daily but not to an unhealthy or damaging extent. Everyone has different skin that reacts uniquely to the sun. Our skin is our biggest organ and it needs to be treated with respect and care. Get to know your skin so you can give it the best treatment possible!

Closing thoughts

1 in 5 people do not get enough sun, therefore, I hope this article has taught you about the importance of sunshine and made you reevaluate your daily sun intake. The sun is a natural and free medicine that is available to us all! If you live in a place that doesn’t get much sun, try making sure that you make an active effort to go outside when the sun does decide to show itself.

Sunshine really is the best medicine. Go outside today and self-medicate!