Don’t go into the light, but definitely experience it! Sunlight can have a big impact on your overall health. While your body can survive without sunlight, your risk of disease increases when you’re deprived contact with the energy that flows off that glowing ball of gas located 146.9 million kilometres away. We’re not saying you should just go out completely naked without any kind of sun protection, stay out in the sun as long as possible, and wait until you resemble a strip of crispy bacon. That’s crazy. Seriously, don’t do that.
What you should do instead is make sure you’re getting outside enough that you can experience the benefits of sunlight. At the very minimum, install some windows (and maybe even window screens) to get light flowing into your home in the way you prefer.
So what are the main health benefits of getting out in the sun?
Your body produces two different types of hormones naturally: one during the day and one during the night. These are serotonin and melatonin, respectively, and both are important. Serotonin has been connected to positively boosting your mood and helping you stay focused and calm. Melatonin, on the other hand, has been connected to helping people sleep better. Studies have shown sunlight can boost serotonin levels in particular. If your level of this hormone gets too low, it can lead to depression and SAD (seasonal affective disorder – possibly the most appropriately-named acronym for a medical issue). This makes sunlight crucial.
Having your blood pumping through your veins faster than a full-speed police car in hot pursuit isn’t healthy for anyone so get out in those sunbeams to slow down the chase. What does that even mean? Sunlight can lower your blood pressure by increasing the amount of nitric oxide in your skin. That sounds like you’re exposing yourself to some sort of crazy deadly chemical like in a superhero origin story, but it’s not even close to the reality. Nitric oxide is important in vascular health as it’s the chemical that widens blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure in the body. So don’t explode, go for a walk in the sun to slow down those fast-pumping veins.
While it’s tempting to stay inside to binge so many TV shows, it’s in your best interest to at least get outside once in a while to stay healthy. If you still want to enjoy the sun in moderation, window or door screens provide a simple way to let in just as much sun as you need (although getting outside is still the best way to reap the maximum benefits from sunlight).