Sunlight is essential for life, from promoting plant and crop growth to keeping people warm. Furthermore, many people enjoy the sensation of sunlight, and there is growing evidence to support the numerous health benefits of sunlight. People are more cautious about spending time in the sun now that they are more aware that too much UV radiation from the sun can cause skin cancer. However, just as it is critical for people to protect themselves from excessive sun exposure, they should also ensure that they get enough to reap the health benefits of sunlight. Finding the right balance can help people maintain optimal vitamin D levels while also reaping the mental health benefits of a sunny day without putting themselves at risk. Continue reading to find out more about the numerous health benefits of sunlight. We’re used to hearing about how too much exposure to the sun’s warm rays can harm your skin. But did you know that striking the right balance can have a variety of mood-boosting effects? We will also investigate how much sunlight per day is recommended.
Hormones are released in your brain in response to light and darkness. Sunlight is thought to increase the release of a hormone called serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is known to improve mood and help people feel calm and focused. Darker lighting at night causes the brain to produce another hormone called melatonin. This hormone is in charge of assisting you to sleep. Serotonin levels can drop if you don’t get enough sun. Low serotonin levels are linked to an increased risk of major depression in a seasonal pattern (formerly known as seasonal affective disorder or SAD). This is a type of depression brought on by the changing of the seasons.
Increased sunlight exposure isn’t just good for your mood. There are several health benefits to getting moderate amounts of sun. Reduced sun exposure has been linked to a decrease in serotonin levels, which can lead to major depression with a seasonal pattern. The effects of light on serotonin are triggered by sunlight entering the eye. Sunlight stimulates specific areas of the retina, causing serotonin to be released. As a result, you are more likely to suffer from this type of depression during the winter, when the days are shorter. Because of this link, light therapy, also known as phototherapy, is one of the most common treatments for seasonal depression. You can purchase a light therapy box for your home. The light from the box simulates natural sunlight, stimulating the brain to produce serotonin and decreasing excess melatonin.
How much sunlight per day?
Vitamin D is a unique vitamin that most people don’t get enough of. Indeed, it is estimated that more than 40% of American adults are vitamin D deficient. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces this vitamin from the cholesterol in your skin. As a result, getting enough sunlight is critical for maintaining optimal vitamin D levels. Too much sunlight (vitamin d toxicity), on the other hand, has its own set of health risks. The duration of solar radiation exposure required to obtain the recommended doses of vitamin D has been estimated by Spanish researchers. While 10 to 20 minutes in the sun is sufficient in the spring and summer, nearly two hours is required in the winter months, making it difficult for the vast majority of the population to achieve optimal values.
Midday is the best time to get sunlight, especially in the summer. The sun is at its highest point at noon, and its UVB rays are the most intense. That means you need less time in the sun to produce enough vitamin D. In the United Kingdom, for example, 13 minutes of midday sunlight exposure three times per week during the summer is sufficient to maintain healthy levels in Caucasian adults. Another study discovered that 30 minutes of summer sun exposure in Oslo, Norway was equivalent to consuming 10,000-20,000 IU of vitamin D.
The standard daily dose of vitamin D is 600 IU (15 mcg). Getting vitamin D around midday is not only more efficient, but it may also be safer than getting sun later in the day. According to one study, late-afternoon sun exposure may increase the risk of dangerous skin cancers. Darker-skinned people may need anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours longer to get enough vitamin D than lighter-skinned people. This is a major reason why people with darker skin have a higher risk of deficiency. As a result, if you have dark skin, you may need to spend a little more time outside in order to get your daily dose of vitamin D.
Wearing a tank top and shorts for 10-30 minutes three times per week during the summer should be enough for most people with lighter skin, according to this recommendation. People with darker skin may require a little more time. Just be careful not to burn if you spend a long time in the sun. Instead, if your skin is sensitive to sunlight, try going without sunscreen for the first 10-30 minutes and then applying sunscreen before you start burning. Wearing a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes while exposing other parts of your body is also acceptable. Because the head is a small part of the body, it produces very little vitamin D.
Best time to go in sunlight
At the beach, always protect your face and top of your ears, as these are the most sun-exposed and sun-damaged skin areas. Allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure on your arms, legs, abdomen, and back. Following that, apply a good sunblock with an SPF of 30 or higher. Choose an appropriate time of day. You can’t make vitamin D if your shadow is longer than your body height. According to studies, the best time to take sunlight is between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Researchers assisted in the development of the dminder app, which recommends optimal sun exposure and provides sun-safety warnings based on multiple factors such as time of day, location, and skin type.
Health benefits of sunlight
Sun is a natural source of Vitamin D that we cannot get enough from our diet. So, definitely it is essential for a person to get the recommended amount of sunlight a day. The health benefits of sunlight include vitamin D production, bone health support, blood pressure reduction, disease prevention, and mental health promotion. Reduced exposure to sunlight (vitamin d deficiency) especially in winter can causes depression in some people. Here we will discuss the health benefits of sunlight in detail.
Enhances your sleep
Melatonin, a hormone produced by your body, is essential for sleep. Because it is produced by your body when it is dark, you usually begin to feel sleepy two hours after the sun sets, which is one of the reasons our bodies naturally stay up later in the summer. According to research, an hour of natural light in the morning will help you sleep better. Sunshine helps to regulate your circadian rhythm by telling your body when to increase and decrease melatonin levels. So, the more daylight you get, the better your body produces melatonin when it’s time to sleep.
Develops strong bones
When exposed to ultraviolet-B radiation from the sun’s rays, the skin produces vitamin D. According to one study, people will produce the following vitamin D levels in a 30-minute period while wearing a swimsuit:
Most Caucasian people have 50,000 international units (IUs).
- 20,000 to 30,000 IUs in tanned individuals
- 8,000 to 10,000 IUs in people with dark skin
The vitamin D produced by the sun is important for bone health. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to childhood rickets as well as bone-wasting diseases such as osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Being outside is one of the best ways to get vitamin D. About 15 minutes in the sun per day is sufficient if you have fair skin. And, because Vitamin D helps your body maintain calcium and prevents brittle, thin, or misshapen bones, soaking in the sun may be exactly what the doctor ordered.
According to a study, low vitamin D levels increase your risk of depression. Getting some natural sunlight can help with depression symptoms and improve your overall mental health and well-being by increasing vitamin D production.
Although excessive sun exposure (vitamin d toxicity) can contribute to skin cancer, moderate sun exposure has cancer-prevention benefits. Researchers discovered that people who live in areas with fewer daylight hours are more likely to develop certain cancers than those who live in areas with more sunlight during the day. Among these cancers are colon cancer, prostate cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, ovaries cancer and pancreas cancer.
Benefits of sunlight: Melatonin also reduces stress reactivity and being outside allows your body to naturally regulate melatonin, which can help you reduce stress. Furthermore, because you’re usually doing something active when you’re outside (walking, playing, etc.), the extra exercise helps to reduce stress.
Skin care treatments
Sun exposure, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), may also help treat a variety of skin conditions. UV radiation exposure has been recommended by doctors to treat psoriasis, eczema, jaundice and acne. While light therapy is not for everyone, a dermatologist can advise you on whether it will help with your specific skin concerns.
Weight loss has been linked to getting outside for 30 minutes between 8 a.m. and noon. Of course, there could be other factors at work here, but it appears that there is a link between early morning sunlight and weight loss.
Boosts immune system
Benefits of sunlight: Vitamin D is also important for your immune system, and regular exposure to sunlight can help strengthen it. A strong immune system can help reduce the risk of illness, infections, certain cancers, and death following surgery.
Increase in energy level
Sunshine sends signals to our brain that we should be alert and awake. We have more energy during the sunny seasons because our brains are more activated. In other words, spending time outside can help you feel more alive and energetic.
Reduce your blood pressure
Benefits of sunlight: Out of the various other benefits of sunlight, one is regularity in blood pressure. Sunlight exposure is thought to cause the skin to release stores of nitrogen oxides, which cause arteries to dilate, lowering blood pressure. This exposure is caused by UV rays rather than visible light. Lowering your blood pressure is beneficial to your overall cardiovascular health.
Fights off depression
It’s not just your imagination; there’s a scientific reason why being outside in the sun makes you feel better. Sunshine increases the level of serotonin in your body, which is a chemical that improves your mood and helps you stay calm and focused. Increased exposure to natural light may help alleviate the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder, which is characterized by a change in mood that occurs during the fall and winter months when there are fewer hours of daylight.
Can help you live a longer life
A study of 30,000 Swedish women found that those who spent more time in the sun lived six months to two years longer than those who spent less time in the sun. More research is needed in this area, but scientists are still investigating it.
Side effects of too much vitamin D
While sunlight is beneficial for vitamin D production, too much of it can be harmful. The following are some of the consequences of excessive sunlight:
- Sunburns are the most common adverse effect of excessive exposure to sunlight. Sunburn symptoms include redness, swelling, pain or tenderness, and blisters.
- Long-term UV light exposure can cause retinal damage. This increases the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts.
- Excessive sun exposure can cause your skin to age faster. Some people’s skin becomes more wrinkled, loose, or leathery.
- Freckles, moles, and other skin changes can occur as a result of excessive sun exposure.
- Heat stroke, also known as sunstroke, is a condition in which the body’s core temperature rises as a result of excessive heat or sun exposure.
- Overexposure to UV light is a major cause of skin cancer.
If you intend to spend a lot of time in the sun, take precautions to avoid getting sunburned. To avoid the harmful effects of excessive sunlight, apply sunscreen after 10-30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure. Your exposure time should be determined by how sun sensitive your skin is. It’s important to remember that experts recommend reapplying sunscreen every two to three hours in the sun, especially if you’re sweating or bathing. The main effect of vitamin D toxicity is an increase in calcium levels in the blood (hypercalcemia), which can cause nausea and vomiting, weakness, and frequent urination. Toxic levels of vitamin D can cause bone pain and kidney problems, such as the formation of calcium stones.