How much sunlight you should get in a day + its benefits
Are You Getting Your Daily Dose of D?.. Vitamin D to be exact!
Over the years sunlight has gotten a bad rep, and for good reason! Many cosmetic brands are banking on the UV protection aspect for their products. While it's true that the sun's UV rays are harmful to the skin, it can also do the body some good! Confused? Well, let us explain. Some of you would probably remember basking in the sunlight with their grandmother as a kid. Well, this was more than just for bonding time. Before you get all sus, here are the deets — small doses of sun rays can do a lot for not only your physical health but mental wellbeing as well.
Keep on reading to find out how much sunlight is enough sunlight for the body and why we encourage our greenies to get their daily dose of D.
How much is too much?
There are numerous studies that have proven the benefits of sunlight, one of them being its ability to boost the body’s vitamin D supply. But this doesn’t mean you stand out in the sweltering heat the entire day. The answer to this question is different for everyone. How much sunlight one should get differs from person to person. In general, scientists think 5 to 15 minutes is beneficial. For darker skin people 30 minutes is just enough to improve your health without causing any damage. According to medical journals like the NHS, the period from about late March/early April to the end of September is the best time to make use of sunlight, with midday sun being the most apt.
What can a pocketful of sunshine do for you?
The health benefits of sunlight are endless with the production of vitamin D in the body being the most common. The way it works is when the UVB rays hit the skin, it interacts with a particular protein called 7-DHC . This produces vitamin D3 within the body. Scroll on down to find out how some time in the sun can improve your health.
1. Mood Booster
There is plenty of research that suggests that sunlight may help improve serotonin levels. What is serotonin, you ask? Well, short answer - it’s your body’s own happy pill! Long answer - The hypothalamus secretes this hormone which allows brain cells and other nervous system cells to communicate with one another. This has a huge impact on our sleep cycle, eating habits and more importantly our mood.
Sometimes our body needs a little help releasing this happy pill and that's where sunlight comes in. Have you noticed that you’re happier during summer (when we’re not in the middle of a heatwave of course) as compared to monsoon or winter? According to research journals like NCBI, sunlight helps the body release serotonin which is why you see a shift in moods during each season. Lack of sunlight means less serotonin which is then followed by symptoms of depression and anxiety. This leads to a condition coined as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
2. Sunlight increases vitamin D production
Vitamin D is crucial for our bones and overall health. While there are supplements that contain this vitamin, it is always beneficial to get it straight from the source. Regular sun exposure can also help reduce the chances of osteoporosis as you get older.
3. May prevent nearsightedness
Research claims that spending 3 hours at least in the sun helps stimulate dopamine production in the child which reduces elongation of the eye. This prevents the chances of the child developing nearsightedness — the inability to see things at a distance. While sunlight can reduce the chances of developing this issue, unfortunately, it isn’t a remedy to reverse it.
4. Strengthens your immune system
Want to boost your immune system? Try standing in the sun for a while. According to studies, people who don't get enough sunlight are at a higher risk of getting infections and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease.
5. Improves sleep
Finding it difficult to catch some Zs at night? Your internal clock could be the culprit. Otherwise known as circadian rhythm, this clock is the main reason why you stay up late at night.
The circadian rhythm is driven by light which resets every day. Daily exposure to sunlight trains your brain to automatically fall asleep once it gets dark, helping you catch up on that much needed beauty sleep in the process. While there are a few studies done on this topic, it's still lacking in-depth research.
Conclusion: So, while you plan your next sunbathing session, don't forget your sunscreen. After all, skin damage is not part of the process.