Health Benefits from the Sun
While it is true that there can be some rather nasty side effects associated with overexposure to sunlight, there are also some health benefits as well if the proper precautions are taken. There have been several long, and rather dry, articles and studies written and conducted about the health benefits derived from the sun. Instead of going into all of that, here are a few general bits of information that can be used to help illustrate the health benefits that you can derive from the sun.
- Generally happier. It has long been shown the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be counteracted by being exposed to sunlight. Generally speaking, this same type of benefit can apply to everyone, as the increased exposure to the sun increases the outlook that most people feel, which in turn helps people become happier as the days go by.
- Better sleep. By going outside while it is light, the sunlight helps to reset the body's natural clock. This is done by simply telling the body to stop producing melatonin, which helps to make the body drowsy and sleep better. Furthermore, by simply going outside for a minimum of 15 minutes in the morning, you will feel more tired in the evening when it is time for you to sleep.
- Improved immune system. Another health benefit that comes from exposure is the increased efficiency of your immune system. Apparently the ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun helps to suppress overactive immune systems, while promoting activity in those that don't perform the way that they should. However, this really needs to be done with care, since over exposure can also have a profoundly negative effect. An example of this can be found in diseases such as lupus, where minimal exposure is beneficial and excessive exposure can have a really nasty effect.
- Increased vitamin D production. An interesting side effect that comes from exposure to the sun is that your body can soak up much needed vitamin D. While you can get this from eating and drinking certain foods (such as milk) this is the only vitamin that your body can absorb without needing to eat. On the average, by being exposed to the sunlight for a minimum of 30 minutes can have a dramatic effect on the overall production of this important vitamin.