Beautiful autumn is here and with that a shortening of the daylight hours. Sunlight is very important for our wellbeing. Here are some important factors to “bring to light”.
Sunshine can turn your mood around. Sunlight triggers serotonin, one of your brain’s “feel-good” chemicals. Low serotonin is thought to play a key role in depression, especially in the kind that tends to hit during the winter. Research shows that people who spend time outdoors have higher levels of this “happy” neurotransmitter.
Sunshine is helpful in its ability to initiate a reaction in the body that triggers vitamin D production. Vitamin D is a key component in keeping your bones strong and healthy due to its role in absorbing calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D may also be involved in maintaining a healthy immune system and proper muscle function. So, the next time you are outside, stop and turn your face to the sunlight and soak it in.
You may sleep better after some time in the sun. Serotonin which we talked about earlier is involved in the production of melatonin. When serotonin levels are just right, there is a greater likelihood that melatonin will be too, which will mean better sleep.
Sunshine can make your skin glow. Really. A few UV rays can give you a healthy glow. Research shows that sunshine can lower blood pressure and improve heart health, a healthier body- the better you will look.
Lastly, smile. Smiling is the sunshine of the soul and good for you. When you smile, the brain releases neuropeptides that help fight off stress. Even if you fake a smile, these neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are released. Think of smiling as a natural antidepressant. Smile, share your inner sunlight.
–Deborah Denham RN, MSN, CPPS, CPHRM