Friday, November 18, 2022

Why Sunlight Is Important In The Winter


The hardest thing for me about winter is the lack of sunlight. Where I live in Alaska, there is like 4, maybe 5 hours of sunlight on the shortest days and I miss the bright sun shinning in my window. Even with the sun, it is often gray and cloudy outside so I notice it.  

I've noticed that I tend to be more energetic and happy when it's sunny out.  I pop out of bed, prepared to face the day but in winter, I tend to crawl out of bed, want to nap all the time, but I know spring isn't far away. If you read up on things, you will know that it is important to get enough sunlight even in the winter.  

One big reason that sunlight is important is that the sun helps boost your immune system while preventing disease.  When your skin is exposed to sunlight, the sun helps your T cells move consequently improving your immune system.  In addition, sunlight also helps your body produces 90 percent of vitamin D which is used by your body to build bones, control inflammation, and increase your immunity. Vitamin D also helps protect your body from certain types of cancer and slows down aging.  Yes, it is recommended one use sunscreen but you only need 15 minutes of exposure to the direct rays. This can be done by a short morning outing just before the sunscreen is applied.

Furthermore, sunlight helps improve your mood because it makes you feel good. Unfortunately, the amount of sunlight decreases during the winter and many people undergo SAD (seasonal affective disorder) and certain types of depression. If you can't get enough sunlight, buy a special light to use on days without enough sun.  

Sunlight also helps to improve your energy levels.  It perks you up and keeps you going. When the light hits your eyes, your brain is told to wake up and release the cortisol your body needs to increase your metabolism so you make it through the day.  When your body is exposed to the sun at least 15 minutes every day in the morning, it tells your body to stop producing melatonin which is the hormone responsible for helping us sleep, helping us wake up. 

Research has also found that when you are exposed to sunlight year round, it helps you live longer.  In fact, specific research shows that the women who were exposed to a minimum amount of sun every day over a 20 year period, tended to live much longer than those who didn't.  Furthermore, when the body is exposed to UV rays, the body produces nitric oxide which helps keep your weight down and slows the development of type 2 diabetes.  In addition, being exposed to sunlight helps lower our blood pressure. 

It is easy to forget about getting enough sun during the winter due to the temperature drops, snow, storms, wind, and other things.  I don't always get outside but I do have a window open I sit by so I can get some sunlight.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great weekend.

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