Let the Sunshine In

Memorial Day is considered the unofficial beginning of summer here in the United States, and with that in the rearview many are considering their plans for the next few months. But whether you will be staying at work or headed to the shore it is important to let the sunshine in! See below for 8 benefits of catching some rays from our friends over at Calm.

1. Vitamin D synthesis: When our skin is exposed to sunlight, it creates vitamin D, a crucial nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. This is vital for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D also supports the immune system in protecting against illnesses and infections.

2. Regulation of sleep cycles: Sunlight influences our body’s internal clock, which controls when we feel awake and when we feel sleepy. Natural light exposure during the day helps regulate the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for sleep. Aligning our sleep-wake cycles with natural sunlight can help improve the quality of our sleep and can make it easier to wake up feeling refreshed.

3. Lower blood pressure: Sunlight on the skin can stimulate the production of nitric oxide. This can widen blood vessels, helping reduce blood pressure. Lower blood pressure can decrease the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and contribute to overall cardiovascular health.

4. Immune system boost: Beyond vitamin D production, sunlight can help increase white blood cell count, helping defend the body against infections. More exposure to sunlight might mean a potentially better-prepared immune system to fight off illness.

5. Mood enhancement: Sunlight may directly influence mood by increasing the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Often called the “feel-good” chemical, it can contribute to feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Regular exposure to sunlight can help elevate your mood, reduce feelings of sadness, and increase overall emotional stability.

6. Reduction in stress levels: Sunlight can have a calming effect by helping regulate stress hormones, like cortisol, making it easier to relax. This soothing effect of natural light can make day-to-day challenges more manageable and improve mental clarity and focus.

7. Relieving symptoms of anxiety and depression: The boost in serotonin may help reduce anxiety by bringing a sense of calm. For those affected by seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is a type of depression related to changes in seasons, sunlight can help counteract the symptoms that come with the decrease in natural light during the darker months.

8. Improved sleep quality: Sunlight helps regulate melatonin, the sleep hormone, which can help you fall asleep more easily and can enhance sleep quality.