The benefits of natural light and basking oneself in it is something that can be rather hard to achieve during the autumn and winter months. The consequences of not receiving enough of this resource can even lead to SAD (seasonal autumnal disorder) where both the physical and physiological parts of an individual can be affected.
Click here to find out more about SAD – or as we call it “holiday depression”
Still worried? Don’t be!
Here we have put together a list of 9 different ways you can achieve more sun exposure. But first, let’s start off with the benefits of natural light.
Benefits of Natural Light
1. Increase in vitamin D
It’s undeniable that towards the end of the year we are more inclined to staying indoors and bundling up on the couch or visiting neighbors and friends—and maybe even avoiding holiday get-togethers. Whatever floats your boat, the truth of the matter is that the benefits of natural light can only come if you actually go outdoors.
As stated in an article published by NC State University: Many Americans have a vitamin D deficiency due to a lack of outdoor sun exposure. Scientist suggest that vitamin D may be helpful in treating many different disorders and diseases, such as autism, cancer, diabetes, chronic pain and even depression (2018).
2. Leads to higher productivity
A study conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology found that employees working in an atmosphere with more brightness witnessed higher levels of energy and motivation.
Think about it. When you’re sitting in a dull, dark room you are not only straining your eyes but the mood is just depressing overall.
3. Benefits vision
You’ve probably heard about carrots benefiting your eyesight. But what about natural light? It’s true! Studies have shown that natural light can lower one’s risk of nearsightedness in young children and adults as it encourages the eyes to produce more dopamine—which plays a key role in eye development.
4. Promotes better sleep cycles
Some research has shown that the amount of natural sunlight a person receives plays a key role in how much sleep they receive each night. As stated in an article published by ResMed: Light has a profound effect on sleep.
Exposure to light early in the day stimulates the body and mind, encouraging feelings of wakefulness, alertness, and energy. Light exposure at night also stimulates alertness—and that can pose a serious problem for healthy, abundant, refreshing sleep. Light exposure during the evening can make it harder to fall asleep. Insufficient darkness throughout the night can lead to frequent and prolonged awakenings (2015).
5. Leads to a happier you
As said before there is such a condition called SAD. Better known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, symptoms occur when the body starts to produce less serotonin and melatonin due to decreased sun exposure. These ‘’happy chemicals’’ have a direct impact on our mood.
With serotonin being a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) increased sun exposure can lead to
Ways to Get More Natural Light
It’s a given that sometimes participating in outdoor activities can be harder towards the ending and beginning of the year due to changes in the weather and harsh temperatures. But if you ever have a chance to plan a hike somewhere, even on an overcast day, even the tiniest amount of sun exposure can aid the body.
2. Planning a social gathering outdoors
Whether your occasion is due to take place at the local park or a cool hangout downtown, planning a small social gathering outdoors is great for both socialization and increased sun exposure.
Some of the very best benefits of natural light comes from this very method!
3. Traveling somewhere with warmer temperatures
This option can admittedly be expensive depending on where you live and how far you’re traveling. But if you’re someone who’s really starting to grow tired of grey skies you may want to consider planning a short holiday somewhere warm.
Tip: San Diego, California is one of the few cities in the U.S. that experiences almost constant weather patterns year-round with very short wet seasons—which typically come around during late December through early February.
4. Purchase a ‘’Happy Light’’
Better known as an LED light, the purpose of this smart resource is to provide the individual with light exposure. Despite it most evidently being far from natural, an LED light can help aid SAD and even benefit one’s mood.
You can find your own Happy Light for great prices on Amazon.
Tip: To ensure a safe experience be sure to shine the light indirectly from the eyes.
Interested in learning how meditation can relax your body and mind? Go here:
5. Aim for frequent exposures as oppose to ‘’long’’ ones
Note that you cannot generate vitamin D when sitting behind a glass window, because the UVB rays necessary for vitamin D production are absorbed by glass (2010).
6. Consume more antioxidant-rich foods
Reason being is because food sources with higher levels of antioxidants have been proven to strengthen skin cells, and further protect them from damage.
Here is a list of fruits with these benefits:Blueberry, strawberry, cherries, plum, blackberry, orange, grape, and raspberry.
Here is a list of vegetables with these benefits:Beetroot, spinach, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprout, and alfalfa sprout.
7. Take moderate doses of vitamin D3
As we all know sun exposure is a natural source of vitamin D. But if you’re living in a climate where lingering clouds are consistent company, you may want to think about taking vitamin D3 supplements.
Tip: Be sure to follow intake instructions as too much vitamin D in the body can lead to vitamin D toxicity.
You can read more about vitamin D toxicity here.
8. Understand the difference between UVA and UVB rays
As stated in an article published by Dr. Steve Lin: The important
In short, UV rays penetrate your skin much deeper and can cause premature aging.
UVB rays, on the other hand, are responsible for the synthesis of vitamin D in the body. Upon contact it immediately penetrates into the epidermal layer of the skin and sets off a chain reaction.
9. Know the peak times of UVB rays
As stated in an article published by NCBI (National Library of Medicine): At noon, the sun is at its highest point, and its UVB rays are most intense. That means you need less time in the sun to make sufficient vitamin D (2010).
The benefits of natural light on both the physical and internal components of the body can lead to a healthier you. But while taking in rays the most important thing to be cautious of is too much sun exposure.