If you’ve been around Rocycle for a while, you probably know that we love a little bit of sunshine. It warms up the air and warms up the smiles on our faces, and it makes everything just a little bit brighter. And while the damaging effects of UV rays are very real, there are actually many ways that sunlight is beneficial to us.
Though we aren’t plants who survive through photosynthesis, we do need sunlight. Not only to just live but to thrive. As with most things, in moderation, sunlight is a truly wonderful thing for your health and your wellness. So here are the top reasons to make sure you squeeze in a little sunlight this winter. Go on! Get outside!
Sunlight = an improved mood
Though it certainly might give you a little tan, which we never complained about, there’s actually scientific proof that sunlight might help your mood. Studies have shown that sunlight is tied to the rate of production of serotonin – a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood – in the brain. As light increases, serotonin levels soar. On the opposite side of the coin, many studies have shown that missing out on enough sunlight is linked to mood disorders like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). That’s why we like to keep a happy lamp (or one of those sunrise alarm clocks) at home or at our desks for those days when the Dutch weather just won’t comply.
Sunlight = vitamin D
This is probably the most well-known reason for soaking up some rays. Your grandmother probably even used it as an excuse for her heavy tanning schedule back in the days. When the ultraviolet light from the sun meets the cholesterol in your skin, vitamin D is produced, and that is essential for a healthy life. In fact, vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and also supports bone growth. Without enough vitamin D, you can face serious issues like muscle aches, mood disorders, decreased bone density and a whole host of other issues. Luckily, just 5-10 minutes of sun exposure twice or three times a week is enough to keep your levels roaring. Vitamin D Supplements are also good, but you have to ensure you take them with healthy fats like coconut oil, almonds or salmon, as fat aids in its absorption.
Sunlight = increased lifespan
It may sound crazy, particularly with all of the warnings about too much sun exposure leading to deadly skin cancer (which are very, very real by the way!), but studies have shown that those who avoided the sun over a course of 20 years had twice as high a mortality rate as those go were frequently exposed to the sun.
Sunlight = a boost in energy
With the sun on your side, who even needs that Red Bull? Turns out, sunlight can help with those feelings of unshakeable tiredness. When your eyes detect light, it rouses the hypothalamus and nudges the brain to release cortisol. This will increase your metabolism and make it easier to make it through that 4:00 P.M. slump.