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A little bit of sunshine each day might be just what you need to feel happier and healthier.
Even during uncertain times when we’re practising social distancing, it’s still super important to expose yourself to a safe amount of sunshine – whether that’s from your backyard, balcony or front porch.
Here are four big benefits of sunlight.
Sunlight reduces stress and boosts your mood
Ever had someone tell you to get some fresh air when you need to calm down? Well, there’s a reason for it.
More time spent outdoors is linked to a reduced risk of stress and high blood pressure – so step outside next time you’re feeling high-strung!
Sunlight also increases the levels of serotonin in the brain, a hormone often dubbed the ‘happy chemical’, since it contributes to wellbeing and happiness.
Sunlight increases Vitamin D production
Time spent outdoors helps you get your daily dose of Vitamin D – a hormone produced by the kidneys in response to sun exposure.
The ‘sunshine vitamin’ helps maintain bone and teeth health by allowing the body to absorb calcium – so make sure you get enough of that, too!
Sunlight improves your quality of sleep
Sunlight and sleep go hand in hand.
The sun has a major influence on circadian rhythms. These days (and especially right now) we’re spending a whole lot of time indoors, but the sun still regulates our sleep patterns as it did when we were spending more time hunting and gathering outside.
If you’re indoors too much, you’re bound to confuse your body clock. So why not drink your morning coffee on the front porch or have your lunch break in a sunny spot?
Sunlight regulates your metabolism
Heard of winter weight gain? Despite your best efforts, sometimes it can be harder to maintain a healthy weight in the cooler months – or if you’re hauled up inside.
Turns out sunlight plays a role in increasing our insulin resistance (the body’s ability to move sugar out of the bloodstream) suggesting that sun exposure has an influence on our metabolism.
Tips for staying safe in the sun
While there’s a lot of good associated with sun exposure, there are also some negatives – especially since skin cancer is the most common cause of cancer in Australia.
Here are some tips for staying sun smart:
- Don’t overdo it. 15 to 30 minutes of direct exposure is just right!
- Don’t forget your hat. Something that shades your face, nose, neck and ears is recommended.
- Slip, slop, slap! Choose a sunscreen that’s SPF30 or higher and water resistant.