Daylight Savings and the Benefits of the Sun
For me, March is a great month. Early Sunday morning, we turned the clocks ahead. This is one of my favorite calendar events of the year. I love the sun and the anticipation of warmer days. March 20th is the official start of Spring. In nature, what lied dormant will now come back to life.
Nothing is absolute. There are some who don’t like the heat summer brings. Worth noting, too much exposure can certainly create skin cancer concerns and precautions need to be taken. However, the emotional and physical health benefits of sunlight are significant.
So, what does sunlight do? It helps boost a brain chemical called serotonin. When released, serotonin gives your body an energy boost, activates a sense of calm, creates positivity, and helps with focus. You may have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) where people suffer more depressive symptoms which are linked to low levels of serotonin. SAD increases exponentially during the winter months, especially in the north.
Besides the chemical release of dopamine, which helps make us feel good, sunlight is vital because it provides Vitamin D which is an essential vitamin for human growth. Sunlight helps activate the vitamin D that is required for healthy teeth and bones, boosts the immune system and mood. Vitamin D is an anti-inflammatory as well. That’s right. The sun does two sciency things. It activates a chemical in our brains and provides us with a needed vitamin.
According to The American Journal of Sports Medicine and The New England Journal of Medicine, an estimated one billion people worldwide are either vitamin D insufficient or deficient. Therefore, your multivitamin isn’t cutting it.
Research has also found the sun helps with weight loss, improves sleep, and adds years to your life – as much as six months to two years.
As we spring ahead this month, think about your own relationship with the sun. It may be the best friend you never knew you had.