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Show your Skin to the Sun

Show your Skin to the Sun

Longer days and warmer weather mean more chances to get outside.  Fresh air offers its own long list of benefits, as does spending time in nature such as a park, woods, or on a beach.  One of the most important things you can do for yourself is get sunlight on as much of your skin as possible for at least 20 minutes each day.

Some people are concerned with skin cancers, or sunburns.  For the amount of sun exposure you’d get in 20-30 minutes, these are not issues.

One of the biggest reasons we need sun exposure is for the production of Vitamin D in our skin.  Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps to regulate the immune system and the strength of our bones.  We can take supplemental vitamins in the form of D3, but the most easily absorbed form is the type we produce in our skin when stimulated by sunlight.

Sunlight also plays a role in the regulation of our internal circadian rhythms, which dictate our sleep-wake cycles.  When we’re exposed to sunlight throughout the day, we’re able to be more awake in the daytime, and we’re able to sleep better at night.

This circadian rhythm is managed by a delicate interplay of hormones, which is something sun exposure helps to keep in balance.  Many people are suffering from anxiety or depression, and daily sun exposure has been shown to help those who have these conditions because of the role imbalanced hormones play.

Colds and other infections are less common in those who see the sun more often not only because of it’s benefits to the immune system, but also because sunlight has been shown to directly destroy bacteria when they are exposed to it.  Hospitals and food preparation services often employ UV lamps for this purpose, and they employ the same wavelengths that the sun emits to kill pathogens in the air and on surfaces.

You don’t need to go sunbathing for hours at a time, though you should expose as much skin as you are able to, for roughly 20-30 minutes per day, to see benefits.

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