Walking on Sunshine: Sunlight and Your Health


someone standing in the sun on a beach

The sun does more than just help flowers grow. For people, sunlight offers countless benefits that contribute to our overall sense of wellbeing — while lack of exposure to sufficient sunlight can cause a slew of adverse symptoms. As the sunnier summer months approach, learn how controlled and strategic sun exposure can help you feel your best.

Sunlight Benefits

Exposure to sunlight helps your body bolster its immunity and encourages you to spend active time outdoors, positively impacting your health. Beyond this, sunshine also provides the following additional benefits.

Vitamin D Production

Vitamin D, also known as calciferol and “the sunshine vitamin,” performs many essential functions in the body, including reducing inflammation, facilitating cell growth, and even helping combat depression. When you expose your body to the sun, it allows you to stimulate Vitamin D production.

Experts recommend 600 IU or 15 micrograms per day for those under 70 years and 800 IU for those over 70. It is possible but challenging to get sufficient Vitamin D exposure from food alone, which is where the sun comes in. According to the WHO, experiencing 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight two to three times a week is ideal. To soak up the sun optimally while limiting skin damage, it’s important to note that sunscreen may limit vitamin D production, but if you intend to be under the rays for more than 15 minutes, always apply proper sunscreen.

Mood Aid

Exposure to sunlight directly affects serotonin levels in the body, meaning that sunlight can improve your mood. People who suffer from seasonal affective disorder most commonly experience depression when the days get shorter and hours of sunlight decrease during the fall and winter months. That’s because the sunlight received through the eye cues serotonin release, helping stabilize your feeling of happiness and enhancing the hormone’s positive downstream impacts on your overall well-being.

Better Sleep

Sunshine also helps to regulate your body’s circadian rhythm or sleep cycle. While serotonin is responsible for your mood during the day, melatonin plays a vital role in helping you sleep at night. Getting enough serotonin during the day through exposure to sunlight helps your body produce the proper amount of melatonin. Try to keep to traditional dark and light cycles for more restful sleep.

Increased Bone Strength

In addition to helping your mood, Vitamin D is essential for your body to build and maintain healthy bones. For your body to absorb calcium, the primary nutrient that builds your bones and keeps them thriving, Vitamin D must be present. On the other hand, Vitamin D insufficiency causes your bones to become soft and brittle, leading to many unhealthy bone conditions, including osteoporosis and osteomalacia.

Lowered Blood Pressure

Your body releases nitric oxide into your blood when your skin is exposed to sunlight, expanding your blood vessels, lowering blood pressure, and increasing feelings of relaxation. As you feel relaxed, this also helps regulate blood pressure and contributes to overall heart health.

Treatment of Skin Conditions

Getting the proper exposure to sunlight can also help alleviate the symptoms of some common skin conditions such as acne, jaundice, psoriasis, or eczema, but too much can exacerbate them. As such, you should always consult your medical provider to inquire about the proper sun exposure for your unique skin health.

Let the Sunshine In With Faithfully Guided

At Faithfully Guided, we help you monitor your optimal ranges for vitamins that can be harnessed from time spent outside. We offer customized health assessments that paint a full picture of your body’s state of wellbeing and inform your path to total health. Contact our team today to soak up the brimming benefits of individualized care for your improved health and wellness.

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