The sunshine doesn’t only bring happiness; it also brings sleepiness!
July is Ultraviolet Safety Month! Everyone knows that laying in the sun for too long can harm your skin, but the right amount can lift your mood. Healthline states that exposure to sunlight increases the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin helps a person feel calmer and more focused, which helps with good quality sleep.
Several health benefits are associated with sunlight, such as better mental health, healing skin, and cancer prevention. Without exposure to the sun, your serotonin levels can dip, causing a higher risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that affects people who live in areas where winter months have shortened periods of daylight.
The National Sleep Foundation says that light plays a vital role in regulating circadian rhythm, which is the body’s internal clock that signals when to be alert or rest. When exposed to natural light, the circadian rhythm in people synchronizes with the sunrise and sunset, which is excellent for healthy sleep schedules.
Electricity affects the brain’s circadian pacemaker by creating an artificial light source no matter what the hour. Studies show that light exposure in the morning pushes the sleep schedule earlier and light exposure in the evening pushes the sleep cycle later. Circadian rhythms are also affected by SAD. The reduced light in the winter months can affect sleep, causing negative mood and mental health changes.
Sunshine & Vitamin D
Are you ever out in the sun for an extended period, and once you’re back inside, you feel a wave of sleepiness hit you? This feeling, caused by the increased melanin you receive from the sun, helps you sleep better at night. According to The Royal Women’s Hospital, sunshine plays a role in regulating hormones and sleep patterns by affecting the melatonin and circadian rhythm. Melatonin production in the pituitary gland starts from the chemical melanin. Melanin production in the skin occurs through sun exposure.
The sun is also an essential source of Vitamin D. Most of our Vitamin D comes from our exposure to the sun, not from food. Vitamin D helps with bone health, blood pressure, and mood disorders and has been shown in some research to help normalize menstrual cycles in women.
Everything in Moderation
Getting some natural sunlight regularly has several health benefits. However, keep in mind that too much of anything isn’t good for you. Prolonged skin exposure to the sun’s rays can cause skin cancer, a very real and dangerous risk. Make sure you always wear sunscreen when you are in the sun. Know how much time you can safely spend in the sun with Omni’s Sunbathing Calculator: Click Here.
If you’re having a hard time sleeping at night, try exposing yourself to some morning sunlight to start your day. You’ll find that your sleep and daytime function improve significantly, which will also improve your overall mood and health!
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