I’m sure you know by now that I am a big advocate of getting daylight exposure. Specifically sunlight on the skin and optic sunlight exposure. Yes we know about it’s ability to pluck vitamin D from the sun. But what other benefits does it have?
Our eyes have receptors in them, that when met with sunlight, they start signalling to the body that it is day time. This is one of the only ways our body really knows what time of the day it is out there. So, I advise all clients, even for 5 minutes a day, to get out early doors and get some sun on the skin and in the eyes. Optic daylight exposure will, in layman’s terms – ‘wakes the body up’.
Us humans are programmed to be outdoors while the sun is shining and home in bed when the sun has set . This is why melatonin is produced during the darker hours of the day and stops upon optic exposure to daylight. When people are exposed to sunlight or very bright artificial light in the morning, their nocturnal melatonin production occurs earlier, and they enter into sleep more easily at night.
The melatonin precursor, serotonin, is also affected by exposure to daylight. High serotonin levels in the presence of melatonin reflect short nights and long days (i.e., longer UVR exposure). Moderately high serotonin levels result in more positive moods and a calm yet focused mental outlook.
For this reason, it’s important that people who work indoors get outside periodically, and furthermore, that we all try to sleep in total darkness. Blackout blinds and or eye masks will both help with this. Putting these into practice can have a major impact on melatonin rhythms and can result in improvements in mood, energy, and sleep quality.
Sunglasses may further limit the eyes’ access to full sunlight, thereby altering melatonin rhythms. Going shades-free in the daylight, even for just 10–15 minutes, could confer significant health benefits.
Other health benefits of sunlight are reducing the chances of autoimmune disease, psoriasis and melanoma. While also increasing opiates in the blood, better known as endorphins.
How much sunlight should we get?
Depending on where exactly you are on the globe anywhere from 3-60 mins looks like the standard. Countries like Australia, as little as 12-15 mins will suffice experts have stated. Other countries like Ireland, 30-60 mins is a nice number to go off.
Of course we need to be careful of excessive UVR exposure, in particular with no protection through high SPF sun cream. So, make sure you are wearing it before you get some on your skin.
I hope this helps,