“The Sun is the giver of life."
Pharaoh Ramses II
Our first thought about sun is bad – it damages your skin, makes you dehydrated, and gives you wrinkles overtime. But small amounts of sun is extremely beneficial. Scientists suggest for individuals to soak in about 5 to 15 minutes of sun if you’re light-skinned & up to 30 minutes if you’re dark-skinned. This is certainly something to think about for those of us suffering in the wintertime from S.A.D.
REASONS TO BASK IN THE SUN....
Vitamin D – The sun’s UV rays help your body make Vitamin D – which is vital for the optimal functioning of your bones, blood cells, and immune system. Furthermore, Vitamin D paves the way for the absorption of other minerals– like calcium and phosphorous – so they can be used by the body. Notably, most people get enough intake of Vitamin D from food, but when they don’t, children can develop rickets – a condition that softens and weaken the bones.
Immunity Boost – Lower levels of vitamin D has been linked to lower immunity. Studies show that people in northern climates have higher risk of developing a range of autoimmune conditions – such as multiple sclerosis.
Sleep Regulation – When you get sun exposure early in the morning, it helps you get a better sleep later that night. More so, this gains importance as you age and your eyes start losing their full ability to take in light. As this aging process happens, it’s so important you expose yourself to early morning sunlight to regulate your circadian rhythm.
Weight Loss – When you get 20 to 30 minutes of sun between 8 a.m. and noon – studies show it can help people keep the fat off. Scientists think sun’s rays actually go in and shrink the fat cells that lie beneath the skin’s surface.
Serotonin – Sunlight boosts serotonin levels in your brain which keeps you calm, positive and focused. Disorders like seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and other types of depression are linked with low levels of serotonin and treated with either natural or artificial light.
Eye Health – Moderate amounts of sunlight over your lifetime – especially around your teenage years – might make you less likely to develop nearsightedness overtime. Don’t overdo it though – too much sunlight can lead to blurred vision and raise your chances of developing cataracts.
Skin – Importantly, researchers believe three primary types of skin cancer – melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma – are mostly caused by too much sunlight time. Thus – use sunscreen if out longer than 15 minutes or so. But, also importantly – that small time in the sun actually has some skin benefits. Regular UV light in small amounts might help ease symptoms of certain skin conditions, like eczema, psoriasis, and vitiligo.
In summary, don’t get too much sun. But, in mild amounts, sunlight is like medicine.