What Are the Health Benefits of Sunshine?

By on December 30, 2020

Being outside under the sun can dramatically improve health. Inactive addiction, we rarely think about our health and often cut ourselves off from the world. We tend to stay inside and isolated. In sobriety, however, we can improve our rate of healing and overall health just by making the decision to step outside into the sunshine.

How is Sunshine Healthy for Body and Mind?

Sunlight is healing. It provides us with the necessary Vitamin D and has been linked with improved mental and physical health. It offers benefits like supporting healthy bones, managing calcium levels, decreasing inflammation, supporting the immune system, and glucose metabolism. According to the National Institute of Health, “Unlike other essential vitamins, which must be obtained from food, vitamin D can be synthesized in the skin through a photosynthetic reaction triggered by exposure to UVB radiation.” Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with poor bone health and may exacerbate bone-related problems such as osteoporosis. Recent research has also shown that vitamin D may be effective in preventing a variety of illnesses, including multiple sclerosis, and aid in treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease, and thyroiditis says Johnny K – the owner of True Life Recovery detox in Orange County, California.

Research has also shown that there is a link between sun exposure and lower blood pressure levels, and even lower death rates due to heart problems. Studies indicate that sun exposure triggers the skin to tap into and release its stores of nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen oxides make the body’s arteries dilate, which in turn lowers the blood pressure and may help reduce the effects of metabolic syndrome.

natural sunscreen with zinc oxide

Sun exposure may also help protect us from certain diseases, including:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Various cancers, including breast, colon, prostate, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Sunshine also provides major benefits to mental health, including supporting better sleep which can positively affect our moods. It helps set our circadian rhythms because it regulates certain hormones. According to the Healthline, “Sunlight and darkness trigger the release of hormones in your brain. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. This is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. At night, darker lighting cues trigger the brain to make another hormone called melatonin. This hormone is responsible for helping a person feel sleepy and go to sleep.” Decreased sun exposure, on the other hand, causes drops in serotonin levels and may be responsible for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression caused by changing seasons.

Being out in the sunlight just tends to make us feel better. There are numerous scientific reasons that that’s true, one being that the sun’s UVB rays cause our skin to generate beta-endorphins, hormones that help reduce pain. Other benefits include:

  • Boosts immune system
  • The sensation of well-being and improved mood
  • Reducing stress and promoting relaxation
  • Increasing alertness
  • Reducing depression
  • Increasing energy and alertness
  • Helping wounds heal faster
  • Improving job satisfaction (when there is access to sunlight in the workplace)

Getting outside in the sunshine also makes us more likely to be engaging in physical activity. Healthline explains, “Adding a little sunshine to your life by getting outside more can relieve anxiety and reduce depression. If you live in higher latitudes with little sunlight, a lightbox may provide some mood-boosting benefits. From treating skin conditions to strengthening bones, sunlight has other health benefits as well.” These mood-boosting benefits coupled with the endorphin release of physical activity can lead to major improvements in our physical health, mood, and overall sense of well-being.

Sun Exposure Helps Recovery

Sunlight is crucial for our overall health and well-being. The benefits that sunlight offer include the production of vitamin D, lowering blood pressure, supporting healthy bones, preventing certain diseases, and improving mood and mental health (which is key to battling the significant mental health issues, depression and SAD).

However, those are not the only benefits of sun exposure. In a recent study, 30,000 Swedish women were followed throughout their lives and it indicated that the women who spent more time in sunlight lived longer. While there is more research that needs to be done in this area, the results are significant.

Of course, as with any good thing, you can get too much of it. Though sunlight can benefit our bodies and minds, it can be very harmful to our skin. Depending on how light or dark our skin is, it takes our bodies from 5 to 30 minutes to begin producing vitamin D. When we wear sunscreen, we may not produce much or any vitamin D. So, when we go outside for some sun exposure, we should limit the time to 5-30 minutes without sunscreen to get the maximum benefits without added risks.

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What Are the Health Benefits of Sunshine?