I read somewhere that since humans essentially need food, water, oxygen and sunlight, we’re basically glorified houseplants. It’s a funny thought but actually, it’s true! And you might not have guessed it, but sunshine actually plays a vital role in our physical and mental health. Here’s why.
Getting exposed to sunshine regularly means you are at a lower risk of experiencing the symptoms of depression or developing it, you will sleep better, and have strong bones. There’s even a study that shows it can help with weight loss and reduce your body mass index (BMI).
“Sunlight decreases the risk of depression in those at risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD),” said Dr Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio according to Forbes. Roizen added that sunlight is our primary source of Vitamin D, a hormone that is necessary for bone formation, which is why it’s especially important for growing children to play outside.
Another hormone released when soaking up the rays is melatonin. “Also known as the sleep hormone, melatonin has a range of effects on the brain, from improving sleep to synchronizing your biological clocks, and lowering stress reactivity,” Dr Mithu Storoni, a physician and researcher told Forbes.
Now, if those benefits still haven’t convinced you, get a load of this. A study done at the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry revealed that being in the sun regularly during the morning may reduce body fat and promote the lowering of your BMI, reports Times of India.
In Cape Town, our winter days are often rainy and gloomy. So, whenever the rain lets up and the sun shines its glorious rays, head outside and bask in the beautiful sunshine.
Remember that being exposed to direct sunlight for too long without protection can be harmful to your skin, lead to sunburn and may even cause skin cancer. Always wear hats, sunscreen and stay out of the sunlight during the hottest hours of the day.