How Sunlight Makes The World A Better Place
We’re often told about how beneficial it is to get out in the sun - but what does this actually mean? Sure, the summer months are full of joy and excitement, but the sun holds much more power than you might think! Within this guide, we will take you through how sunlight makes the world a better place.
- Vitamin D
The sun's UV rays help your body to produce vitamin D; an essential vitamin that’s important for your bones and immune system (EFSA, 2010), among many other things!
According to the NHS, spending around 20 to 30 minutes per day in sunlight should be enough for vitamin D absorption. However, during the winter months, the sun probably won’t be strong enough. You might wish to take vitamin D tablets to safeguard your intake during these times.
For as long as we can remember, humans have relied on the movement of the sun to determine their sleep pattern. Natural light helps to wake up your body’s internal clock, in the same way that darkness helps it to rest. Without sunlight working as our own natural clock, there’s no telling how rested (or restless) we would feel!
As sunlight influences your circadian rhythm (the internal clock we spoke about previously), many people find that it motivates them to get up and go. This is particularly true during the summer months, when the days are longer. People start to feel more inclined to spend time outside during this warmer period, leading to greater motivation to move the body and maybe even exercise.
- Emotional Wellbeing
In recent years, a lot of research has gone into Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). This is a form of depression that gets worse during a particular season, usually winter.
According to the NHS, the main theory for the cause of SAD relates to a lack of sunlight in winter. It’s been found that a lack of sunlight might stop the hypothalamus in the brain from working correctly. This might affect the production of serotonin (the “happy” chemical), among many other things.
A popular treatment for SAD is light therapy. This involves using a special lamp called a “light box” to mimic natural sunlight.
How To Stay Safe In The Sun
While the above four reasons might make you want to get out in the sun, doing so safely should be of top priority. This is because, although it comes with benefits, the sun can still damage your health. It is incredibly strong and long-term exposure can do more harm than good.
With the above in mind, here are some general safety tips for when spending time outside in the sun.
- Focus on staying in the shade between 11am and 3pm
- Cover up with clothing and sunglasses
- Wear at least factor 30 sunscreen
- Avoid burning at all costs
For more sun safety tips, check out the NHS sunscreen and sun safety guide. Here you will find stacks of information on how to protect yourself from the sun, while still enjoying its wonders.