When was the last time you sat outside and enjoyed the sun? In case you haven’t done this for some time you should do it today (if you have sun). Sunlight is essential for many people, as is being outside in general.

Think about your day. If it is anything like the days of the most people you spend about 95% of your time inside. A negative consequence of this is that you are vitamin D deficient. 40-75% of people are vitamin D deficient.

Here’s the thing: Vitamin D is really important for your health. Studies linked vitamin D deficiency to decreased bone mass, depression, heart disease and even cancer.

We as humans depend on the sun for vitamin D, because vitamin D, unlike all the other vitamins, which we have to take up through nutrition, is produced by the skin itself. When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet B rays it starts producing vitamin D.

Knowledge-base: UVA & UVB (ultraviolet A & B) rays is part of the electromagnetic, not visible, light that is emitted by the sun. UVA & UVB both can pass through the atmosphere of the earth and play an important role for us humans. While UVA is responsible for damaging the skin and its deeper layers, which is responsible for skin cancer as well. UBA is largely responsible for sunburn and reddening the skin. While small amounts of sun are necessary for a sufficient Vitamin D protection, too much of it is causing skin cancer.

Contrary to common belief, this can happen pretty quickly. Some researchers and health experts suggest that exposing your face, hands and arms to the sun for 10-15 minutes on a regular basis (several times a week), is enough to produce sufficient vitamin D.

One thing you have to remember is that the darker your skin, the less vitamin D it produces. So if you already have a tan you might need more exposure to the sun.

Besides getting vitamin D from sun exposure the only other option are vitamin D supplements, which I recommend anybody to begin with, but please consult a physician first and let him check your vitamin D blood level.

We can’t get sufficient vitamin D from food, as there are only minimal amounts of it in some fish and maybe some fortified foods.

Another great benefit of sunlight is that it helps your circadian rhythm. Naturally we evolved to experience bright light during the day and darkness at night. Not only are we using bright lights in the evening we are also not getting enough bright light during the day.

Getting sun during the day increases the melatonin production at night, which will make you sleepy. Besides that the bright sunlight during the day can function as an reset for your circadian rhythm, so it stays intact with our normal 24 hour day cycle.

Get out in the sun for at least 15 minutes today. It’s free and it will make you healthier and happier. Besides that you will be more productive afterwards, so don’t think of it as wasted time!

Remember: Don’t stay in the sun too long without protection, because you are risking developing skin cancer.

Steps to take: 

  • Try to go outside (in the sun) at least once a day for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Use protection afterwards
  • Supplement with Vitamin D, after contacting your physician.

Sources:

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