We are approximately two weeks into Spring and the first things you hear from most public health messages is the hazards of exposure to the sunlight – sunburn, premature aging, skin damage, skin cancer, heat stroke. UV rays can also damage tissue in your eyes. You can prevent the harmful effects of sun exposure.
• Use sunscreen
• Plan your exposure and time in the sun
• Take breaks
• Cover up
• Wear sunglasses
There are benefits to go with the risks. Small amounts of exposure, early in the day, before the sun is at its brightest can be good for you in some ways. Body, mind and soul.
1. Vitamin D-important for your bones, blood cells and immune system.
2. Better sleep-Your eyes need light to help set your body’s internal clock. Early morning sunlight in particular seems to help you sleep at night.
3. Weight loss-Morning light also seems to help people keep the fat off. More sunshine means you are probably getting up and going more.
4. Emotional well-being- Sunlight helps boost a chemical in your brain called serotonin, and that can give you more energy and help keep you calm, positive and focused.
5. Eye health-Moderate amounts of sun over your lifetime, especially in your teen and young adult years, might make you less likely to have problems seeing things at a distance (nearsightedness).
6. Your skin-Regular small amounts of Ultraviolet light may help ease symptoms of certain skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis and vitiligo. There are still risks when spending too much time in the sunlight.
7. Blood pressure- A group of researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that a compound called nitric oxide that helps lower blood pressure is released into the blood vessels as sunlight touches the skin.
8. Alzheimer’s-Sun-exposure lessens Alzheimer’s symptoms. Clinical research has shown Alzheimer’s patients who are exposed to the sun throughout the day from 9AM to 6PM followed by darkness at night score on mental exams and improve some of the aspects of the disease. Bright light increases melatonin, patients had fewer symptoms of depression, nighttime wakefulness, agitation & lost less function. The researchers attributed these improvements to more regular circadian rhythms.
9. Growth- Sun exposure boosts growth in children-This benefit is especially true for infants. Studies reveal the amount of sun exposure in the first few months of a baby’s life has an effect on how tall the child grows.
10. Some cancers-Reduced risk of some cancers. While sunlight brings increased risk of skin cancers, a number of studies have shown associations between sun exposure & lower risks of colorectal, prostate and breast cancer as well as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Credit Vitamin D for those wins.