Let the Light In

We are used to hearing that the sun is harmful to us and while it’s true that too much of the sun’s rays can be harmful to your skin, the right amount can have lots of mood lifting benefits.

The light of the sun and darkness trigger the release of hormones in your brain and exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting your mood and feelings of calm. At night, darker lighting causes triggers in the brain to make another hormone called melatonin. This hormone is responsible for helping a person feel sleepy and ready for bed.

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Without the mood lifting hormone release of serotonin, a person’s levels can dip low which is associated with a higher risk of the seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression that is triggered by changing seasons. You’re more likely to experience SAD in the winter when the days are shorter and the nights are longer.

One treatment for SAD is light therapy, which is also known as phototherapy. A doctor can recommend a special light box designed to stimulate the brain to make serotonin and reduce excess melatonin production. If your windows are grubby and old, then why not let that light in and think about replacing them. For Double Glazing Leicester, visit http://www.absolutewindowsolutions.co.uk/

Here are some further benefits to catching some rays:

Exposure to the ultraviolet-B radiation in the sun’s rays causes a person’s skin to create vitamin D. The vitamin D made thanks to the sun plays a big role in bone health. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to rickets in children and bone-wasting diseases like osteoporosis.

According to the World Health Organization, sun exposure can treat several skin conditions for the right person. Doctors have recommended UV radiation exposure to treat psoriasis, eczema, jaundice, and acne. While light therapy isn’t for everyone, a dermatologist can recommend if light treatments will benefit your skin concerns.

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Research studies have revealed preliminary links between sunlight as a potential treatment for a number of conditions. These include:

  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • inflammatory bowel disease
  • thyroiditis

Too much sun does have its drawbacks though so the key is to find a healthy balance. The sun’s rays do have ultraviolet (UV) radiation which can penetrate the skin and damage cell DNA, sometimes causing skin cancer.

How much is too much? This depends on your skin type and how direct the sun’s rays are. Fairer skinned people typically get a sunburn more quickly with sun exposure than others who are darker skinned. Also, a person is more likely to get a sunburn going outside when the sun’s rays are more direct between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Good advice seems to be that getting anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands, and face two to three times a week is enough to enjoy the vitamin D-boosting benefits of sun. Remember though that for Vitamin D absorption, the sun actually has to penetrate the skin so wearing sunscreen and/or clothing over the skin won’t help production.

If you plan to be outside for longer than 15 minutes then it makes sense to cover up. You can do that by applying a sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 15 and wearing a protective hat and shirt.