Did you know that sunlight actually increases hormones that boost your mood? Yep, serotonin is the hormone happy campers crave and sunlight triggers its release, improving our mood and helping us to feel calmer and, subsequently, more focused.
Conversely, a low level of serotonin in the body, caused by lack of exposure to the sun, is associated with a higher risk of depression. Exposure to sunlight has been found to benefit those suffering from major depression, anxiety disorders and even premenstrual syndrome.
Sunlight cues serotonin to get to work when it reaches your eyes. That’s why the likelihood of seasonal depression from something called seasonal affective disorder (Yes, it is commonly referred to as SAD) can increase in the winter months when we are exposed to less hours of sunlight.
Now, we’re definitely not saying you should shoot for sans sunscreen, baking on the beach levels, but sunlight in moderate amounts may also – according to the World Health Organization – help treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, jaundice and acne. Sunlight is also an excellent source of vitamin D, which is proven to build strong bones and thought to provide preventive benefits for certain cancers, including colon, lymphoma, ovarian and prostate. Preliminary research is also underway for sunlight’s beneficial effects as it relates to rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and certain thyroid issues.
Who wouldn’t want a bunch of smiling, healthy people around them? So go ahead and open those shades, shutters, curtains, drapes and blinds!