“Can’t wait for summer” is an often said sentence in the cold and rainy February. We all feel much better when the sun shines. People smile, are more outgoing and active. So why does the amount of sunlight has such a positive effect on our mental and physical health?
Let’s talk about sunshine.
Ultraviolet light boosts your mood.
The cholesterol in the skin is transformed into vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, when exposed to ultraviolet B. Although studies are inconclusive whether vitamin D boosts your mood, a deficit of vitamin D shows a higher risk for depression. Furthermore, sunlight increases the production of the hormone serotonin, a natural mood booster that makes you feel calm, focused and energised. The lack of sun exposure decreases the levels of both vitamin D and serotonin, that’s why so many people in the northern hemisphere experience the winter blues. No wonder we fly to the equator during the wintertime, to escape the sad feelings and activate some joy and bliss.
Sunlight improves our sleep
By increasing the level of serotonin, the sunlights regulates our circadian rhythm, controlling our cycle to wake up and go to sleep. As this brain chemical also gives you more energy you will be more active during the day and physically more tired in the evening, compared to people exposed the whole day to artificial light.
Sunshine lowers the blood pressure.
Nitric Oxide stored in the outer part of the skin stimulates up to 60 per cent of the blood flow. It reacts with sunlight causing the blood vessels to widen as the oxide moves into the bloodstream, thereby lowering the blood pressure. Stress causes blood pressure to increase temporarily. So easy anti-stress medicine go into the sun for a bit without any sunblock and absorb these healthy rays of light, and your body will naturally know what to do.
Vitamin D regulates your immune system, telling your defence mechanism to turn itself off and stop the inflammation, once the cold or damage is being repaired. Naturally, when there is a lack of vitamin D there is a lack of signals to turn off the inflammation leaving your body working hard in many places, thereby lowering your immune system.
Experience the benefit of sunlight for yourself
I personally can’t get happier than a bit of sunshine on my face. I notice how my body relaxed, my lips smile and my heart rate lowers. I want to invite you to go with attention to your body and notice what happens when you absorb the sunlight. What do you feel in your skin, in your heart, what happens to your face? Very simple bodily observations, though at least as important as the scientific research. Your skin will let you know way before you burn that it was enough, though you have to pay attention to the subtle language of your body.
Let’s get started.
I do not have any medical background. Just a whole lot of interests in the interaction between humans and nature. So this information is purely inspirational, not advisory. For any kind of advice please contact your medical advisor who has studies years for it's knowledge.
On my mind....