While most people believe that you only need sunlight for vitamin D production, the truth is, sunlight has a lot more benefits than just producing this hormone.
In fact, depending on where in the world you live, there could actually be times of the year where sunlight WON’T help you to make vitamin D.
Does that mean that sunlight is useless at these times!?
Of course not!
In today’s blog post you’ll learn about some of the lesser known benefits of sunlight, which are available year round.
1- Improves sleep quality
In order to get great sleep, your body needs to release a healthy amount of melatonin (your sleep hormone) at night time. This happens when your eyes detect a lack of light, or 'darkness'.
For this process to be effective, your brain needs to be able to tell the difference between the amount of light you get in the day vs. at night time.
By getting more sunlight exposure in the day, you give your brain a larger reference for when it is night time, and you have less light around.
Note: Indoor lighting, even in bright offices, can be 10-100X less bright than sunlight, even if it is a cloudy day!
2- Boosts your mood
You’ve probably heard of serotonin, a hormone sometimes referred to as the “happy chemical”.
When sunlight enters your eyes it triggers the conversion of an amino acid, called tryptophan, into serotonin.
Not only does this put you in a better mood, but it also increases your level of alertness. This is why watching a sunrise in the morning is so important.
3- Lowers blood pressure
Increased sunlight exposure has been shown to decrease your chances of getting cardiovascular disease. One way it does this is by lowering your blood pressure.
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it releases nitrogen oxide.
Nitric oxide helps to dilate your blood vessels, and increases healthy blood flow to and from your heart.
4- You look good
Ever wondered why you naturally find a tan attractive?
There’s a reason why people will go to tanning salons, or use fake spray tans.
A tan tells another human that you are a fit mate!
During evolution, your brain learnt to interpret a tanned human as healthy, and a pale person as possibly sick.
If you wanted to have the highest chance of reproducing (and therefore passing on your genes) you would need to select a fit mate.
Yes, there are people out there who will argue that a tan is unhealthy, and that sunlight is actually bad for you, but in today’s world of misinformation we’ve decided to use our natural instincts to sift through the BS ;)
5- Plus a thousand other benefits!
Okay, maybe not a thousand (but also, maybe).
Consider the fact that the most dominant types of light that you’ll get from sunlight are red and infrared light (at minimum 42%).
When you consider that red light therapy (which only emits red and infrared light) has more than 2,000 studies, covering a wide range of benefits, you can infer that sunlight will give you these too.
Faster muscle recovery, decreased inflammation, less joint pain, improved skin complexion, are all benefits that are proven to be associated with increased red and infrared light exposure.
Obviously red light therapy isn’t a replacement for sunlight, but this tool does allow you to get a healthy dose of red and infrared light in a very short time period, which is especially useful for those of us with busy schedules.
For more information on some of the most powerful red light therapy devices on the market, be sure to check out the MyLight devices below.