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The science behind the importance of getting sufficient sunlight.

Apr 19, 2023

Table of Contents
The science behind the importance of sunshine
How much sunlight we need everyday?
Circadian Signalling

The science behind the importance of getting enough sunlight
Getting enough sun-exposure to our skin is important for our bodies to produce Vitamin D, which is essential for our health and well-being. Vitamin D assists in the absorption of calcium, which is important for maintaining strong bones and teeth>

Sleep + Wake cycles: in addition, sufficient sun-exposure is important for our bodies to regulate our circadian rhythm, (your circadian rhythm is your body's internal clock. This clock is responsible for regulating our sleep and wake cycles.

Mood: Its also important to note that sufficient sunlight can boost mood and reduce our risk for depression. Exposure to sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is associated with feelings of happiness and well-being.

Immunity: Sunlight can improve immune function by stimulating the production of white blood cells, which help fight off infections and diseases.

Sunlight has been shown to have a positive effect on your skin health by helping to reduce the risk of certain skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne.
How much sunlight we need everyday?

The amount of sunlight needed by an individual depends on factors such as

  • skin type
  • geographical location
  • time of day.

However, one should not underestimate the importance of getting sufficient sunlight exposure. It is generally recommended that adults get at least 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight exposure to the arms, legs, and face two to three times a week to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D.
***It is important to note that excessive exposure to sunlight can also be harmful and increase the risk of skin cancer. It is recommended to wear protective clothing and sunscreen when spending extended periods of time in the sun. ***

Circadian Signalling
Sunlight hitting your eyes first thing in the morning benefits you! Even on a overcast day.
Recent research has shows that exposure to sunlight in the morning, particularly within the first hour after waking up, can have a variety of benefits for human health. This exposure to sunlight helps to reset the body’s circadian rhythm, which can help to improve sleep quality, mood, and cognitive performance throughout the day.
In particular, sunlight exposure in the morning has been shown to help reduce symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a type of depression that is related to changes in the seasons and reduced exposure to sunlight. This again illustrates the importance of sunshine.

Blood Sugar Balancing and Sunlight:
Studies have also found that morning sunlight exposure can improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood pressure, which are equally important processes to in reduce the risk of metabolic disease such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. But importantly I should note here that early low lying sunlight exposure (as soon as you get up, or as soon as the sun-rises) to your eyes helps set your circadian ryrh, and therefor contributes greatly at getting a good nights sleep - the same goes for low level late afternoon/ early evening (think dusk/ sun set) sun exposure to your eyes, which signals the body o start releasing melatonin, your sleep-promoting-hormone.

To make sunlight a priority and a sustainable practice it can be helpful to paid it with other activities that are important for your well-being, perhaps a walk outside 3 times a day could be a way to combine both sunlight exposure as well as exercise.
Or you could do some earthing (more about this in my next article coming soon) and catch a few rays at the same time.

When we build a strong and habituated framework of well-being practices such as the ones mentioned above, it creates a safety net for you to fall back on during times of overwhelm or when you are struggling emotionally.

I hope this article was helpful to you, and I would love to hear your feedback.

In dedication to your radiant well+being
Marlien Wright

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Holick, M. F. (2007). Vitamin D deficiency. New England Journal of Medicine, 357(3), 266-281. https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMra070553
Holick, M. F., Binkley, N. C., Bischoff-Ferrari, H. A., Gordon, C. M., Hanley, D. A., Heaney, R. P., et al. (2011). Evaluation, treatment, and prevention of vitamin D deficiency: An Endocrine Society clinical practice guideline. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 96(7), 1911-1930. https://doi.org/10.1210/jc.2011-0385
National Institutes of Health. Office of Dietary Supplements. (n.d.). Vitamin D. Retrieved March 16, 2023, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
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Partonen, T., & Lönnqvist, J. (1998). Seasonal affective disorder. The Lancet, 351(9097), 925-929. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(97)12336-4
Schalka, S., & Reis, V. M. R. (2013). Influence of solar radiation on cutaneous immunity: Review of literature. Anais Brasileiros de Dermatologia, 88(5), 761-766. https://doi.org/10.1590/abd1806-4841.20132215
Smolensky, M. H., Sackett-Lundeen, L. L., & Portaluppi, F. (2015). Nocturnal light pollution and underexposure to daytime sunlight: Complementary mechanisms of circadian disruption and related diseases. Chronobiology International, 32(8), 1029-1048. https://doi.org/10.3109/07420528.2015.1072002
Weller, R. (2016). Sunlight has cardiovascular benefits independently of vitamin D. Blood Purification, 41(1-3), 130-134. https://doi.org/10.1159/000441371
Wright Jr., K. P., Bogan, R.

Leave your comments / questions

Dear Afsheen, thank you for your valuable feedback. I am so pleased the article was useful to you.

Warmest wishes

Afsheen Shah1y ago

What a wonderful read. I have found it so helpful to get outside even if for a few minutes each morning and night. That has really improved my sleep