Sunlight is one of the most important climatic factors for a healthy ecosystem to prevail. Some species in our world, convert sunlight into organic compounds for their survival and growth. The amount of light a plant gets has a direct effect on the growth of the plant and the duration of sunlight affects the behavior/growth/survival of insects and animals.
Sunlight, not only plays an important role in regulating the temperature in our ecosystem but also helps humans synthesize Vitamin D. Vitamin D is very important for the development of a muscular system, nervous system, and bone strength. The human body uses Vitamin D to pass nerve impulses to the brain.
Sunlight is more than a big lamp for the earth, it helps all the organisms to live. It is the reason that this world exists!
Let us see what it does to our bodies and mind.
Sunlight stimulates the secretion of hormones – Serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is secreted when you are exposed to the right amount of sunlight and melatonin is secreted when you are exposed to darkness.
Too much exposure to sunlight can make you feel tired and dull, but exposure to the right amount of sunlight can keep you alert, increase focus, and calm. It kind of lifts your mood to the bright side. When you are exposed to darkness or dull lighted room, the secretion of melatonin can make you feel sleepy.
When a person is not exposed to enough amount of sunlight, our body secretes very little serotonin. This condition can cause SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which is a type of depression.
Researches show that when a person is exposed to the right amount of sunlight, it will help people with non-seasonal depression, pre-menstrual disorder, and depression during pregnancy.
Professor Michael Holick, of Boston University School of Medicine and author of The UV Advantage, says: “We get about 90 to 95 percent of our vitamin D from the sun. It is essential for absorbing calcium, keeping our bones healthy, and for protecting against serious chronic diseases later in life such as osteoporosis, Type II diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and many common cancers.”
Vitamin D levels can be boosted naturally without any supplement, by simply exposing ourselves to the sunlight for 15 minutes every day or at least 3 to 4 times a week. Click here to know about foods that are rich in Vitamin D.
Deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to rickets in children and osteoporosis, heart diseases in adults.
Right amounts of sunlight help in preventing cancer that is very dangerous. Exposure to sunlight reduces cancer like – colon cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer.
Prevents MS – Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a disease that affects the central nervous system. Study shows that exposure to sunlight from early childhood reduces the risk of MS. Severe MS can lead to tremors and paralysis. People who live in places where the temperature is high most of the year have fewer chances of getting affected by MS.
Exposure to sunlight improves fertility and also increases the length of fertility. People who have less amount of serotonin and high amount of melatonin, have issues with fertility. Study shows that women who are exposed to less amount of sunlight reach menopause 7 to 9 years earlier than women who are exposed to sunlight. A high amount of serotonin also helps in the secretion of testosterone in men and boosts fertility in men too.
Prevents problems relating to periods in women
When a woman is deficient in Vitamin D, it leads to a problem called Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD). PCOD can cause abnormal growth of unwanted hair, delayed periods or irregular periods, and infertility.
Studies show that, when a woman with PCOD is prescribed with Vitamin D and calcium tablets, the chances of getting pregnant are high, and having regular periods is possible.
Helps you have healthy skin
The correct amount of sunlight can help you clear acne from your skin. It can also treat skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema. 30 minutes exposure to sunlight every day without sunblock, will help you keep your skin healthy.
This is good news for people who want to reduce weight. When you expose yourself in sunlight, your body secreted a higher amount of serotonin. A higher amount of serotonin can keep you alert and awake, but it also suppresses appetite. So, it makes you eat less in warmer weather conditions.
Exposure to sunlight can make your body produce more white blood cells. More white blood cells mean, better immune system, and fight diseases more effectively.
How much exposure is good?
Getting sunlight on your hands, face, and arms, for 15 minutes, 3 to 4 times a week can help you get enough amount of Vitamin D. This will help you enjoy the benefits from sunlight. Make sure you do not apply any sunblock or sunscreen.
When you get exposed to direct sunlight (sunlight between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm), you tend to get sunburned. Sunburn is visible and happens quickly for people who are fair-skinned than darker skin people. If you have to get out in direct sunlight, you can apply sunscreen to protect your skin from damage. [Direct sunlight penetrates the skin and damages the skin DNA].
As a word of caution, too much exposure can cause skin cancer and it is better to step out after applying sunscreen or sunblock 15 minutes prior to departure.
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- C.-B. & Soveral, I., 2013. The immune system and aging: a review. Gynecological Endocrinology, 30(1), pp. 16-22.
- Naeem, S. & Li, S., 1997. Biodiversity enhances ecosystem reliability. Nature, pp. 507-509.
- Terman, M., Terman, J. S. & Quitkin, F. M., 1989. Light Therapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder. s.l.: Neuropsychopharmacology.
- Weinsier, R. L. & Krumdieck, C. L., 2000. Dairy foods and bone health: examination of the evidence. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 72(3), pp. 681-689.