Health Benefits of Sun Exposure

Moderate sun exposure may have several benefits for your health, including stronger bones, better sleep, improved mood, and a healthier immune system.

Sunlight and Serotonin

Did you know the right amount of sunlight can have lots of mood-lifting benefits?

Exposure to sunlight and darkness triggers the release of hormones (serotonin) in your brain, which is associated with boosting mood and helps a person feel calm and focused.

At night, darker lighting triggers the brain to make another hormone called melatonin. This hormone is responsible for inducing sleep.

Without enough sun exposure, your serotonin levels can dip- associated with a higher risk of major depression with a seasonal affective disorder or SAD.

Sunlight and mental health

The light-induced effects of serotonin are triggered by sunlight that goes in through the eye.

Sunlight cues particular areas in the retina, which triggers serotonin release (more likely to experience this type of depression in the winter).

One of the main treatments for depression with a seasonal pattern is light therapy (phototherapy).

Exposure to sunlight can also benefit those with:

  1. Other major types of depression

  2. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

  3. Pregnant people with depression

  4. Anxiety-related disorders and panic attacks

Building strong bones

Exposure to the sun’s rays’ ultraviolet-B radiation causes a person’s skin to produce Vitamin D.

Vitamin D plays a significant role in bone health.

Low vitamin D levels have been linked to rickets in children and bone-wasting diseases like osteoporosis and osteomalacia.

Cancer prevention

Although excess sunlight can contribute to skin cancers, a moderate amount of sunlight has preventive cancer benefits.

According to researchers, people living in areas with fewer daylight hours are more likely to have some specific type of cancers, which include:

  1. Colon cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer

Healing skin conditions

There’s no question that high exposure to the sun is a danger to the skin.

But according to WHO, moderate sun exposure might also help treat certain skin conditions.

Doctors have recommended UV radiation exposure to treat:

  1. Psoriasis, eczema, jaundice, acne

However, it depends on whether or not light treatments benefit your specific skin conditions.

Additional benefits of Sun Exposure

Here are some other reasons to catch some rays:

Research studies have revealed preliminary links between sunlight as a potential treatment for several other conditions like-

  1. Rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease, thyroiditis

However, more studies need to be conducted before researchers could conclude this.

Sunlight and moderation

Researchers don’t always have an exact measurement for how long to stay outside to reap the benefits of sunlight.

According to WHO, getting anywhere from 5 – 15 minutes of sunlight 2-3 times a week is enough to enjoy the benefits of the sun.

Thus, from treating skin conditions to improving mood and other specific conditions, sunlight has many benefits.


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