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Spring has Sprung!

After so many lockdowns in the past 18 months, it has seemed a lot like a never-ending winter. Being stuck indoors by the fire is nice for a bit, and comfort is essential. Still, it unwittingly breeds procrastination, Depressions best friend. Spring brings hope and rebirth, sunshine, and healing which we are all so desperately seeking now. has identified 7 key benefits of sunlight, so let’s take a look at them a little closer.

1. Improves your Sleep

Sunshine improves your sleep in a no. of ways sunlight increases the hormone Serotonin and works in tandem with another hormone called Melatonin. These hormones regulate our circadian rhythm (Nall, 2019) (Peterson, 2021). When we wake up and open our curtains to expose the light, it switches off the production of Melatonin to reduce that grogginess you feel when you wake up. And in turn, this refills your Melatonin levels since they aren’t leaking out through the day, increasing the levels once the sun goes down. The benefits then are that insomnia will lesson. It will be easier to get to sleep and stay asleep and increase the quality of sleep. And, as we all know, sleep has impressive healing qualities both mentally and physically.

2. Reduces stress

Stress can be regulated by increasing levels of Melatonin. As we learnt above, more sunshine equals more serotonin, more serotonin equals higher levels of Melatonin. This is further enhanced by physical activity, even as limited as walking around because exercise produces ‘feel-good’ endorphins that create a sense of euphoria (Madell, 2020).

3. Maintains bone strength

Sunshine is rich in Vitamin D, which is absorbed quickly through our largest organ, the skin.
Vitamin D is a crucial component in the absorption of calcium, reducing thin brittle or mis formed bones. Vitamin D can be found in foods, but sunshine is the quickest source as a fair-skinned person can reach their RDI in just 15 minutes (Healthline Editorial, 2020).

4. Helps maintain weight

The vitamin D in the sunshine has other superpowers also like helping with weight loss and maintenance. Healthline Editorial (2020) recommends taking vitamin D and calcium supplements when trying to lose weight. A study showed when combined, they had an appetite suppressant effect.

5. Strengthens the immune system

Sunshine also uses Vitamin D to increase the immune system, with studies indicating a reduction in some types of cancers, flu, and heart disease (Healthline Editorial, 2020). Sunshine can also aid in healing infections and skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne caused by an overactive immune system (Nall, 2019).

6. Fights off Depression

Science has clearly shown that clinical depression is a result of reduced serotonin. In fact, most antidepressants available are serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), which increase serotonin levels. So given the increase in serotonin achieved by the sun, it’s no wonder it helps fight off depression. Interestingly enough, some cognitive functions share these neural pathways. Reduced sunshine has shown a probability of cognitive impairment and not just an increased likelihood of Depression (Kent et al., 2009).

7. Can extend your life

A scientific study conducted in Sweden on 3 0,000 women reported that women who spent more time in the sun lived .5-2 years longer than their non-sunning counterparts (Peterson,2019). And looking at all the above benefits, it’s not hard to see why.

So, in Short, sunshine increases serotonin and regulates Melatonin improving sleep. Sunlight increases a sense of well-being, reduces stress and depression, and reduces the likelihood of health issues while boosting the immune system. It helps with weight management, can increase life span, and can even improve cognition.
The rising vaccination rates are assisting the current lockdown era coming to an end. It’s time to wake our bodies up and out of the extended winter slump. Go and enjoy some sunshine. We know the pandemic isn’t over yet, but don’t let fear hold you hostage. There are great activities you can do outdoors that enable social distancing. Maybe some outdoor yoga? Or Tai Chi? Or perhaps you dreamt of learning how to surf or outdoor roller skate, or maybe you would love to create some beautiful gardens. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and do it. You deserve that happiness

Article Written By: Charli Lee

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