We need daily sun exposure in order to thrive.
I never understood the importance and benefits of sunlight until I started working in a space with no windows. After six months I started to feel tired, irritated, and just plain sad. I tried everything until one day I ate lunch outside. When I came back inside I felt so different. It was as if I were lighter, no pun intended 😉. The rest of that day was easy. What happened?
Well low and behold, sunlight deprivation can cause something called seasonal affective disorder, better known as SAD, which is a form of depression. It’s common for people during the winter months but also for those who are stuck in office buildings or spaces with no windows. Vitamin D is the reason why sunlight is so important. But, surprisingly, a recent study from the UK says a two time exposure of 20 minutes ultraviolet light can also decrease blood pressure!
Do You Have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)?
As was happening to me, not enough sunlight can cause the condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Research suggests that when light touches your skin, not just your eyes, it helps reverse SAD. Being outdoors and getting those beneficial UV rays also encourages us to garden, walk, and just be with our kids, grandkids, and furry friends. If you’re just feeling too tired to get out and exercise, find out how to motivate yourself.
Signs and symptoms of SAD may include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day, nearly every day
- Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Having low energy
- Having problems with sleeping
- Experiencing changes in your appetite or weight
- Feeling sluggish or agitated
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling hopeless, worthless or guilty
- Having frequent thoughts of death or suicide
(Mayo Clinic, Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder)
If you have any of these symptoms speak to a friend/family member that will listen and get small amounts of sun per day. If things don’t get better speak to a talk therapist. Staying silent only increases these symptoms.
One of the Benefits of Sunlight can be a Drop in Blood Pressure.
Martin Feelisch, a professor of experimental medicine and integrative biology at the University of Southampton,UK analyzed the effects of two 20 minute intervals of Ultraviolet light on blood pressure.
“When exposed to sunlight, small amounts of nitric oxide are transferred from the skin to the circulation, lowering blood vessel tone; as blood pressure drops, so does the risk of heart attack and stroke.”
Get Your Vitamin D!
Another one of the major benefits of sunlight is Vitamin D, which is essential for many functions such as:
- bone health
- supporting the immune system
- protects against dementia and brain aging
- good for losing excess fat
- essential for decreasing symptoms of asthma
- Strengthens teeth
Research shows that many people have low vitamin D levels. Foods that contain Vitamin D are fatty fish, fish liver oil, and eggs.
(Benefits of Moderate Sun Exposure, Harvard Medical School)
How Much Sunlight Should I Get?
The rule of thumb is never get a sunburn, it increases the risk of skin cancer. Gradually get a few minutes of sun a day till you work up to 15-20 minutes a day. The safest time to get sun is before 10:00am and after 3:00pm. Many of the sunscreens used today have harmful chemicals and toxins. If you would like a safer option google Dr. Josh Axe’s homemade sunscreen.
Betty Sue O’Brian, Natural Physician, M.S. and author of 6 Weeks to a Healthy Lifestyle, recommends, “light on the top of the head no matter what color your hair. It’s important because it charges up the pineal gland. Over exposure is the main problem. 20 minutes minimum of sunlight on the top of the head daily can be very beneficial”.
So, my friends, get your sunlight in small doses at first and work up to how ever many minutes you and your doctor agree on 🙂. Make sure you take advantage of the amazing benefits of sunlight!
With love and health,
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