Weekly Wellness: Power of the Sun
As we officially enter "summer mode" and spend more time outside, I wanted to dig into our fascinating, complicated relationship with the sun.
The Ancient Greeks called the sun 'Helios' and believed he was both the source of life and a diety with destructive powers. Even though in our modern world we don't see the sun as a god per say, scientific research tell us that it holds the same life-giving and harmful potential.
The sun is constantly impacting our individual health and the world around us, even when we can't see or feel it. But, it's not all bad - exposure to sunlight can have a powerful impact on our bodies and brains. Here's the good, not-so-good, and the pretty awesome when it comes to our friend, the sun:
Sun exposure is associated with increased levels of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that impacts our mood and happiness levels.
UV rays help our bodies to produce Vitamin D, an important nutrient for strong bones, blood cells and immunity that isn't naturally produced.
Sunlight helps us reset our circadian rhythm each day - it might seem counterintuitive, but early morning sunlight helps you get better sleep at night.
Moderate amounts of sunlight, especially for teens and young adults, have been proven to improve eye-sight later in life.
Like with anything, "too much of a good thing" can have a negative impact: over-exposure to the sun massively increases the risk of 3 types of skin cancers. Stay protected!
Sunburned skin can also decrease immunity because it uses white blood cells to "heal."
While sun exposure can help strengthen the eyes, it should never be direct - blocking out UV light with protection is extremely important to eye health and reduction of cataracts risk.
The Pretty Awesome
Experts say that we only need about 15-minutes of sun exposure to reap its benefits before it starts becoming damaging. So, enjoy your summer outside and get the best of both worlds (while using as much protection as possible!).