The Effects of Sunlight and Vitamin D on Your Health and Mood

Sunlight can help your body produce vitamin D, an essential nutrient essential to bone and immune health. But low levels are linked to depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Tip #1: Wear sunscreen sparingly if you plan to spend time outdoors to prevent overexposure to UVB rays and keep in mind that darker skin makes vitamin D more slowly.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Vitamin D has long been touted as essential to good health, including lowering blood pressure. Indeed, research shows that people who possess high levels of vitamin D tend to enjoy greater wellbeing with lower risks for heart attacks and strokes as well as diabetes and cancer and overall better outlooks on life.

Vitamin D is not technically considered a vitamin; though essential to health, only small amounts are necessary. You’ll only find it naturally in certain food products like cod liver oil, salmon and tuna fatty fish, beef liver and egg yolks – or as part of dietary supplements.

The best way to obtain vitamin D is by spending 10-30 minutes each day outdoors, ideally around midday, taking care not to burn yourself – and wearing sunscreen if necessary. Sunlight may also help lower blood pressure by helping regulate circadian rhythms; the increase in serotonin and melatonin hormone levels that results may reduce symptoms of stress and depression while encouraging good sleeping patterns.

Supports Better Sleep

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient used by the brain, liver, lungs and muscles, making deficiency linked to various health conditions including poor sleep and depression.

Studies have demonstrated that individuals with lower serum 25(OH)D levels are at increased risk for experiencing mood and sleep issues, possibly contributing to low levels of vitamin D due to how its regulation of melatonin and serotonin production regulates sleep quality. Furthermore, poor quality sleep could actually cause low vitamin D levels as it directly regulates melatonin and serotonin production – further worsening your condition!

Sun exposure and vitamin D supplementation can both help to increase your Vitamin D levels, but for optimal results it’s best to get as much of your Vitamin D from natural sources like food and sunlight before turning to supplements.

This literature review includes studies employing outcome measures of sleep (timing, duration and quality) and/or mood in participants with normal-range Vitamin D status who do not take vitamin D supplements or receive UVB exposure interventions as part of an intervention. Ten observational studies and one RCT included in this review have produced mixed findings concerning vitamin D’s relationship to sleep/mood.

Makes You Feel Good

Many people mistakenly believe they must spend extended amounts of time basking in the sun in order to obtain vitamin D, but that isn’t necessary. Just 10 minutes of sun exposure several times each week with good sunscreen can provide your body with all of the vitamin D it requires for healthful functioning.

Vitamin D helps improve your mood by activating serotonin production – a chemical which makes you feel calm and focused. Studies have linked vitamin D deficiency with low mood levels in people, particularly during fall and winter seasons when sunlight levels decrease significantly.

Vitamin D can be obtained in many ways, with sunlight being its best source. Therefore, it is vital to get some sunlight onto your face and arms at least a few times each week in order to reap its healthful effects without overexposure leading to sunburn and cancer risks. Midday may be particularly effective for increasing vitamin D levels as your skin produces it most efficiently during this period.

Improves Your Mood

Sunlight can increase serotonin levels in your body, which acts as a natural mood-booster to stave off seasonal affective disorder and the “winter blues”. Furthermore, sunlight has been linked with improved mental health–including reduced depression and anxiety risks.

While we understand the potential dangers of too much sun exposure – such as skin cancer, sunburn, and premature aging – too often we fail to acknowledge its benefits. Sunlight plays a pivotal role in setting circadian rhythms, increasing production of the hormone melatonin, and supporting more restful nightly restful sleep. Furthermore, sunlight helps lower blood pressure by prompting skin cells to release nitric oxide which relaxes arteries resulting in lower risks of cardiovascular issues as well as strengthening bones to prevent rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults while vitamin D helps strengthens immunity as well as help prevent certain cancers.

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