Benefits of Sunlight: What have you heard about the sunlight? Is it harmful? It causes cancer. Or sunlight is having harmful ultra-violet radiation.
Forget about all these questions. When natural sunlight hits the skin, it triggers the body’s production of vitamin D. It is also known as the sunshine vitamin.
It is one of the important ingredients for overall health. Sunlight helps body to protects against inflammation.
Control the blood pressure, improve brain activity and functioning, helps muscle to grow, and may even protect against cancer. Low level of vitamin D can lead to heart diseases and dementia.
Exposure to the sunlight has several impacts on mood disorders, sleep quality, and seasonal affective disorder. A recent study shows that 60 million Americans use pills for sleeping.
A little exposure to the sunlight is also helps in weight loss. The warmer months allows for fun outdoor activities. Go on a hike, take up a new sport, go for a run, bike around your neighborhood or even plan a camping trip.
You will be surprised to see what spending a little time outdoors can do for your health.
20 Benefits of Sunlight
Boost growth in children
This benefit is especially true for infants. Studies reveal the amount of sun exposure in the first few months of a baby’s life influences how tall the child grows.
Many cultures around the world recognize this fact and expose children to mild sun to boost growth and height.
Improve brain functioning
Aside from promoting bone health and regulating vital calcium levels, scientists have now linked vitamin D with several functions throughout the body, including the functioning of the brain.
One study assessed vitamin D levels in more than 1,700 men and women from England, aged 65 or older and found that cognitive function reduced the lower the subjects’ vitamin D levels were.
However, more studies have found sunlight could help spur nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for forming, organizing, and storing of memories.
Natural disinfectant – (one of the important benefits of sunlight)
This benefits of sunlight cannot be overlooked.
As ultraviolet rays can damage our cells, they can also damage bacteria and other microorganisms.
Ultraviolet lamps are regularly used to disinfect and sterilise instruments.
In this time and age where we are spending most of our time in air conditioned rooms. We hardly open our doors and windows to let inside the sunlight to disinfect our room and house.
Increase environmental awareness
Hey when you are outdoor getting all the sunlight that you can. You started serving things around you. Hey date how early falls or have an Ant climbs a tree, watching flowers bloom, changing cloud patterns. You start appreciating nature and the way it has been created.
Nature experiences have a special, restorative effect. The more you spend outside the more you will respect and protect your environment.
Kids who spend more time in nature and have positive experience tend to express more appreciation for wildlife, and more support for conservation.
We are aware that childhood experiences predict adult behaviour. Studies have found positive correlation between childhood time spent outdoors during early childhood. And environmentally responsible behaviour later in life.
Improve sleep quality
When sunlight hits our eyes, a message is sent to the pineal gland in the brain and production of melatonin is shut down until the sun goes down again.
Your body gets a clear signal that it is no longer night, and this helps to maintain a normal circadian rhythm. When it gets dark outside, your body gets the signal again and you feel tired and drowsy at bedtime.
Low levels of melatonin production at night due to overproduction during the day has been linked to poor sleep quality, especially in older adults.
Ditch the sunglasses early in the morning when you wake up if possible, so your body gets the message that it is day and triggers the pineal gland to stop releasing melatonin.
Promote eye health
Contrary to what many people believe, sunlight is not the enemy to our eyes. Vitamin D has been linked to improved vision and eye aging.
According to research, “the effect that the rays of the sun have not only a beneficial, but a curative effect upon the eyes.”
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. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.
Everyone experiences stress for various factors, such as family, work, and health issues.
Researches says stress can be relieved in a variety of ways, including exercise, having relaxing hobbies, walking the dog or by getting out in the fresh air for a little sun exposure.
Boost weight loss
Our hunger is largely controlled by a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. And the hypothalamus works with the neurotransmitter serotonin to relieve hunger.
As the body reaches its needed calorie intake, the hypothalamus signals the body to release serotonin which makes us feel full.
Seasonal affective disorder happens when we do not get enough sunlight which causes a drop in serotonin levels. Insufficient serotonin release can result in fullness not being achieved as quickly as when serotonin levels are higher. This naturally can cause a greater calorie intake.
Have you ever experienced when you have eating, ergo you are not hungry, but you still “need” something?
Fight with diseases
Sun exposure can help suppress an overactive immune system, which could explain why sunlight is used to treat autoimmune diseases like psoriasis.
And since white blood cells increase with sun exposure and they play a key role in fighting diseases and defending the body against infection, moderate sun exposure is very helpful for your immune system
Sunlight deprivation can cause a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression common in the winter months. It is also common in people who work long hours in office buildings and hardly get out for some sun.
Moderate sun exposure, however, increases levels of natural antidepressants in the brain that can help relieve this and other forms of mild depression.
That is because on sunny days the brain produces more serotonin, a mood-lifting chemical, than on darker days.
Lowers the blood pressure
High blood pressure is extremely dangerous, it is important to educate yourself on ways to lower your blood pressure. One of which include, exposure to sunlight.
Research has shown that nitric oxide stored at the top layer of the skin reacts to sunlight which causes blood vessels to widen as the oxide moves into the blood stream. This results in lower blood pressure.
Reduce risk of type II diabetes
There are several studies showing a relationship between type-two diabetes mellitus and sun exposure or UVB exposure. One paper showed blood-sugar levels were lower during the summer, and another demonstrated exposure to sun lamps increased insulin secretion.
It has also been found there is a direct and significant association between a surrogate measure for low sun exposure and increased risk of type-two
Sunlight energizes the T-cells that play a central role in human immunity. It is already proven that sunlight helps the body to produce vitamin D, which is very important for good health, and now recent studies have revealed another powerful benefit of getting enough sun.
Improve seasonal effective disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder is believed to be linked to lack of sunlight. It is a form of depression that is roused by changing seasons. According to research, “without enough sunlight exposure, a person’s serotonin levels can dip low. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).”
Reduce risk of cancer
Vitamin D deficiency increases your risk of many cancers, especially breast and colon cancer. However, eating whole foods and getting some sun can send breast cancer into remission.
Subsequent studies have since shown vitamin D supplementation produce a dramatic 60% drop in risk of developing any form of cancer. This confirms the benefits of vitamin D and sun exposure in reducing risk of cancer.
Improve bone health
It is a well-known fact that vitamin D stimulates the absorption of bone-strengthening calcium and phosphorus in the body. However, emerging research also indicates there is a direct correlation between bone density and vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin formed during the process of Vitamin D manufacture when sunlight hits the skin. It regulates calcium absorption. When you have higher levels of vitamin D3 in your blood, you are at a lower risk of suffering fractures of virtually all types.
On the other hand, lower levels of vitamin D3 in the blood are associated with higher rate of all types of fractures. Therefore, sun exposure is especially important for bone health in older adults.
Lessens the Alzheimer’s symptoms
Clinical research has shown Alzheimer’s patients who are exposed to the sun throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. followed by darkness at night score better on mental exams and improve some aspects of the disease.
For example, one study found that Alzheimer’s patients exposed to bright light had fewer symptoms of depression, night-time wakefulness, agitation and lost less function than those exposed to dim daytime lighting. The researchers attributed these improvements to more regular circadian rhythms.
Sunlight promotes healing of skin disorders, such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, jaundice, and other fungal skin infections. In one study, for example, a four-week outdoor sunbathing therapy was successfully used to significantly clear symptoms of psoriasis in 84% of subjects.
While sun exposure has a therapeutic effect on the skin and sunlight has been successfully used to treat skin disorders, this alternative treatment method should be done under medical supervision to prevent negative side-effects of UV radiation and to ensure the benefits outweigh the risks.
Note to parents on how to get all the benefits of sunlight for kids
While we can go on listing the numerous benefits of one of our natural resources. The sunlight. Which is clearly given to us and is not perishable or limited.
How do we reap are benefits from this gift that we have got? It is a question that all of us need to think
We as adults can read blogs like this, or speak to people, seek information. We can understand and make a conscious effort to spend time under the sun. But what about children do we wait for them to grow as adults and then figure it out for themselves.
Or take it upon us as parents to use this knowledge and help our children benefit from it.
The simplest, the most straight forward and the only way to get some sunlight yes by going outdoors. So, the answer lies here. If we want our kids to be benefited, we need to have our kids spend time outside.
I have listed below few simple ways by which we can achieve this.
These are just the basics that will get you thinking in these lines. You can improvise on this list.
- Take your child for a nature walk
- Make visiting the playground part of the routine.
- Take you your child outside with you whenever possible during daytime.
- Enrol in outdoor hobby classes in school.
- Indulge in creative outdoor games with your child occasionally.
- Have your child do simple chores like picking up fruits, trimming the grass, taking garbage outside etc. Basically, chores that require your kid to venture out.
- Play small finding games with your child that makes your child explore nature. Find things like a dry leaf. Get an Oval stone hey. Spot a red colour flower.
- Do not spend all your time in air-conditioned rooms. It helps to open the doors and windows for sunlight to peep in. This not only disinfects your house but also helps the people living inside.
While I have encouraged you to get as much as sunlight as possible. I also need to specify that anything in excess is harmful.
While the benefits of sunlight are explained it needs to be a moderate exposure to sunlight and not outside getting fried the whole day.
Excessive exposure to sunlight can cause damage to the eyes, Sunburn, heat stroke, Heat rashes etc.
While you will surely promote your children to go outside and play. Do be cognizant of the fact that dehydration is one of the key side effects of outdoors.
Make sure that your kid is well hydrated and if you are going on long trips outside carry adequate amount of water to stay hydrated with you.
Currently where air condition rooms, with windows having reflective mirrors, high rise buildings set to cool inhabitants inside, shuttling in cars and always remaining indoors or in closed spaces. Has seriously led to huge problems in our health. And we do not wish this for our children.
So, it is up to us parents to take a step forward to make sure that our children reap all the benefits of sunlight, while we shield them from the negatives side effects of excessive sun exposure. So that they can lead a healthy life.
We hope this blog has motivated you to get more sunlight for yourself and your kids.
If so, show us love by sharing it with your friends and loved ones. Together we can make the world a better place one blog at a time.
If you are aware of any other benefits of sunlight or have ideas on how to get more sunlight for our better health. Help us and other parents by leaving your comments below.