Without the sun, nothing on this planet would be able to function. Sunlight provides warmth to humans, animals and plants, gives energy to plants, provides a renewable source of energy for many communities and simply improves overall health.
Many people would likely prefer to live under the warmth of the sun. However, jobs and other priorities have a majority of people living their lives indoors under fluorescent lights. It’s crucial to get in at least ten minutes of sunlight every day to enjoy the benefits of the sun.
Here are seven natural sunlight benefits, followed by tips on ways to get more sunlight safely.
1. Increases Vitamin D Storage
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and hormone for the human body. It’s responsible for absorbing calcium and promoting bone growth. Plus, it helps prevent diseases like cancer. Many Americans have a deficiency in vitamin D because of a lack of sunlight exposure.
Getting outside or near a window with natural sunlight boosts vitamin D levels and storage capacity. The more vitamin D, the better the immune system!
2. Helps Strengthen Vision
Staring at the sun directly and for too long could result in severe vision problems. However, small doses of sunlight can help strengthen vision. In this technological age, people stare at computers, phones, laptops and tablet screens all day and usually, that time is under fluorescent lighting.
Natural light lowers the risk of nearsightedness, specifically in children. The bright outdoor light helps developing eyes focus and maintain the distance between the retina and lens. Children need at least one hour extra of sunlight a day to help their eyes develop correctly.
3. Boosts Mood
Stepping out into the sunlight is an instant cure for a bad mood. This is thanks to the vitamin D skin soaks in when outside. Serotonin, the “happy” hormone, increases when nights are shorter and days are longer.
People should get outside for at least 30 minutes every day if they want to boost their mood. Besides, there is more opportunity to be kid-like outside, like going for walks, riding a bike and romping in the grass!
4. Leads to Higher Productivity
Sunlight gives the body a signal to stay alert and awake. During the sunnier times of the year, like spring and summer, people are more energetic and willing to be more productive, meaning sunlight is an excellent addition to the office space.
A study showed that those working in daylight in office environments were less likely to have symptoms of eyestrain, blurred vision and headaches — all of which distract from work. Optimizing sunlight in office spaces improves health and wellness, meaning workers are more productive. Americans spend 90% of their time inside, so getting natural light while working is critical for efficient work.
5. Improves Sleep
Who wouldn’t love better sleep? The human body creates many hormones, one of which is melatonin. Melatonin is critical for rest, which is why people who can’t sleep may take a melatonin supplement every night before bed. However, there’s a natural alternative to the supplement.
Getting some extra sunlight in the morning helps people sleep better. It helps regulate the circadian rhythm, which is responsible for the increase or decrease in melatonin levels. The more daylight someone gets, the better their body will produce melatonin when it’s time for bed.
6. Keeps You Active
There’s a reason why people are more active in the summer. Increased amounts of sunlight help people stay active. There are so many activities to do when there’s more daylight available, like hiking, playing on a playground, biking and swimming.
In the winter, when there’s less sunlight, people will spend most of their time indoors. Sunlight allows people to stay fit and active, which keeps their bones, muscles and immune systems strong.
7. Fights Stress and Depression
As previously mentioned, sunlight is a natural mood-booster. A type of depression, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), affects many people in the winter because they do not receive enough sunlight. In the winter, sitting by a window or stepping outside momentarily can fight or lower the risk of depression.
Sunlight is also known to relieve stress. On a particularly stressful day, get outside and enjoy a few moments of sunshine. Getting away from the stressful environment and soaking up the sun can help anyone feel better.
How to Get More Sunlight
Fortunately, even in seasons where the sun disappears earlier in the day, there are ways to get more sunlight. Here are a few methods to embrace the sun:
- Add mirrors to a room. The light bounces off the mirrors, which helps cast more brightness in a home or office building. Using white or off-white colors can reflect the sun’s rays, too.
- Removing heavy curtains allows natural light to filter through windows, allowing the sun to be a natural alarm to help reset the circadian rhythm.
- Set alarms to go outside during the day. Stepping away from work and soaking in the sun for a few minutes every day will be highly beneficial.
- Choose to exercise outdoors when possible, whether going for a walk, riding a bike or doing yoga in the park.
Be sure to apply sunscreen before going outside. While the sun provides multiple benefits, it can damage the skin when exposed too long.
Embracing the Sun
Sunlight is a natural remedy for human health problems. Get outside and embrace the sun.