Even if it’s been rainy for the last few weeks, summertime is here and we’re in full holiday mode! While the sun is hiding away behind the clouds over here, for those straying away on holidays abroad to find beautiful beaches, the sun is likely to be out in full force for those beautiful beach tans and Instagram selfies. While hiding away from the sunlight may be tempting (especially given that we know just what sun damage can do to the skin and the problems it can cause), sunshine isn’t actually something that you should fear.
As long as you take the proper precautions to protect your skin from the harmful side of things, you can enjoy all the benefits that the sun has to offer without the need to worry. Sunscreen is one that you’re probably well aware of (but you’ll need to make sure to get the right level of protection for you) and you need to make sure to reapply this every two hours or so. With protection generously applied, the suns positive effects can go much further than you think, so here are 4 lesser known benefits that a good dose of sunshine can give you!
Sunshine can really brighten your day
Now we don’t just mean that the sunlight will provide a brighter light for you to be able to see things more clearly, soaking up the sun can actually boost your mood too! Sunlight exposure is capable of providing a boost to your serotonin levels, and serotonin is one of the chemicals that your brain produces to make you feel happy.
Serotonin, especially lower levels, is though to play a key role in depression. This is backed up by evidence in those who suffer from seasonal depression where the sunlight is more scarce during winter, causing their mood to be much lower. Research has also shown that people who do spend more time outdoors in general have a noticeably higher level of serotonin in their body, so if you’re feeling a bit low than a good session in the sun could really give you a boost!
Sunlight helps your body to produce vitamin D
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that our bodies need, and it’s fairly common for people to have lower levels of vitamin D than they should. Because it plays such a big role in keeping your bones healthy and strong (due to the way in which it helps the body to absorb calcium and phosphorus) and the role it plays in maintaining your immune system, making sure that you get enough vitamin D is something that you should be making a priority for.
This is where the sunlight comes into play, as it has a handy knack for being able to start a reaction within the human body that stimulates the production of vitamin D. While certain foods are rich in vitamin D (like salmon, cheese or egg yolks) and you can buy vitamin D supplements in a number of shops, a lot of people don’t get enough through their diet alone. Spending time enjoying the sun can help you to get more, so you’re improving your health at the same time as your mood by getting yourself a nice tan!
Spending a bit of time in the sun can help you to get a better nights sleep
We mentioned serotonin earlier and while it’s a good way to help your mood when you’re awake, it can actually help to provide a boost to your sleeping ability too by producing another chemical, known as melatonin. When the serotonin found within your body is at the right level, it’s a pretty safe bet that the melatonin levels are right too which likely means a better nights sleep (and it has other benefits too).
It’s all to do with something known as a circadian rhythm, which essentially runs your internal body clock that tells you when it’s time to wake up or get to sleep. The circadian rhythms are based on the sun, but because nowadays our lives are dominated by technology we are being exposed to bright lights to a much later point in the day than ever before. Go back as little as 30 or 40 years, and there’s a noticeable difference in the amount of bright lights that the majority of people are facing into the night.
Sunlight can help your skin to glow
No, we don’t mean like those “glow in the dark” toys you used to get as a kid that needed to be left in the sun all day to have a greenish hue when the lights went out. What we mean is that exposure to the sun can give your skin a healthy and glowing appearance.
We often make note of how bad the sun can be for the skin and the negative effects, but for people with certain skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, the UV rays in sunlight can actually speed up the healing process. Even for people who don’t need have skin problems, UV rays can help to give the skin a healthier appearance, and if you’re willing to put in the work with a good skincare routine to nourish your skin you can make it look even better.
So there you have it, as long as you take the necessary precautions to protect your skin while you’re out in the sun, the sunlight can improve your mood, help your body to produce the right nutrients and chemicals, and give your skin a healthy radiance.
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