8 Ways the Sun Affects Us: Positive & Harmful

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Ways the Sun Affects Us

Many of us enjoy the sun – its warm rays, the way it shines brightness at everything around us, and the tan we get from it in the summer.

However, the sun brings so much more than that, both good and bad. Take a closer look at how the sun affects us.

Positive effects

1. Good mood

Serotonin is a hormone in our brains that gets triggered by the sunlight. It affects our mood positively – we feel content, calm, and focused. If you don’t expose yourself to the sunlight enough, your serotonin levels may get pretty low. It could lead to moody episodes and even depression at certain times of the year.

So, get into the sunlight to increase your serotonin levels and feel happier and more cheerful.

2. Stronger bones

Exposure to sunlight also triggers the production of vitamin D in our bodies. Vitamin D is significant for building our bones, so you better get your necessary day in the sun to protect your bones – this becomes even more so important once you get older and your bones start losing its density.

However, even kids, whose bones are young and strong, can feel bad effects of insufficient sun exposure – rickets, a disease that softens the bones and causes fractures, is more present nowadays in kids than a few decades ago. So, soaking up the sunlight is important for people of all ages.

3. Cancer prevention

For those who are afraid of melanoma caused by UV rays, this may sound surprising. Still, moderate exposure to sunlight can prevent specific cancers from developing. These types of cancer are characteristic for people living in areas with fewer daylight hours, so it’s highly important to be in the sunlight whenever possible if you live in those areas. Cancer types specific for these areas include colon cancer, ovarian and prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, as well as Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

In case you have a backyard, it’s a good idea to have areas exposed to the sun and areas with the shade. Choose a nice part of the yard where you can sit under a pergola roof and be safe from the excess UV rays while enjoying the fresh air and warmth.

4. Lower blood pressure

Interestingly, the sunlight doesn’t have a mental effect on us only, but physiological as well. When the sunlight reaches our skin, it triggers the production of a compound called nitric oxide. This compound travels to the blood vessels, lowering our blood pressure. In other words, moderate exposure to sunlight can prevent a heart attack and stroke.

5. Deeper sleep

If you get enough sun exposure throughout the day and get your serotonin levels high, it will put you on track to a higher melatonin production – a hormone that helps you sleep. After you’ve spent your day under the sun, your body will be able to recognize more easily it’s nighttime and start producing more melatonin. There’s a lower chance you’ll suffer from insomnia.

A neat trick you can use – wait a few minutes before you put on sunglasses in the sun – serotonin production starts producing when sunlight reaches the retina. And the more serotonin levels your body produces during the day, the more melatonin it will produce in the evening.

6. Healing skin conditions

If you suffer from a specific skin condition, UV radiation exposure can help you treat them successfully. Skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, jaundice, and eczema can be soothed or diminished with light therapy. However, it’s best to consult your doctor about this.

Harmful effects

Of course, we all know there’s a limit to how much we can expose ourselves to the sunlight every day. You have to be aware of the possible risks of exposing yourself too much to the sunlight.

7. Dry, wrinkled skin

The true culprit for dry, wrinkled, tired skin is photoaging – a combination of age and sun. Short UVB rays that cause sunburns also damage your skin DNA, suppressing its immune system and its ability to recuperate fast. On the other hand, longer UVA rays can create oxygen molecules that are prone to strong reactions, damaging skin cells and their DNA in the process.

8. Cancer

UV radiation causes DNA damage, which could ultimately lead to skin cancer. You need to mind your skin type to determine how long you can stay under the sunlight without negative consequences. The fairer you are, the shorter that time is. The time of the day is important, too – direct sun rays that can cause the most damage are between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Unless you don’t use sunscreen when you’re in the strong sunlight for more than 15 minutes, you are at risk of developing one of the types of skin cancer, including melanoma.

Bottom line

The sun obviously does us more good than harm. However, you must take care of your skin and use sunscreen when necessary. Nothing too excessive is good for you, and that includes the sun, too.

Author bio:

Sarah Jessica Smith is a blogger from Sydney and design consultant at Opening Roof Specialists. She is in love with life and all the things that can make her daily routine easier. She loves to write about home improvement, lifestyle, and all the small things that make life such a great adventure.