Top Reasons Most Men Need More Sunlight
Many men aren’t getting enough sunlight. Are you one of them? After you read today’s article, hopefully you’ll change your tune. As we’ll see, sunlight is essential for health.
Natural sunlight provides many important health promoting properties. Scientists are only just beginning to understand some of them. One of the ways in which sunlight contributes to health is by helping our bodies to form vitamin D. The visible light frequencies from sunlight act on different parts of our bodies to produce various health effects as well. For example, our brains respond to sunlight by producing certain essential hormones.
It is possible to offset some of the negative effects of not getting enough sunlight with nutritional supplements and electric light. However, the sun is greater than the sum of its parts, so to speak. There are many health promoting properties of natural sunlight that we still don’t fully understand. So merely supplementing with vitamin D and getting electric light exposure in the right frequencies may be better than nothing, but that’s no substitute for real, natural sunlight.
For years we’ve been told that sunlight causes skin cancer. But that’s not entirely accurate. While it is true that sunburns can damage the skin, leading to skin cancer, non-burning sun exposure actually seems to reduce risk of skin cancer.
But when it comes to sunlight and cancer, skin cancer is just the surface. Research shows that sunlight exposure can dramatically lower the risk of a whole bunch of types of cancers. That includes prostate cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer.
Researchers noticed that, for example, rates of colon cancer in New Mexico (where it is sunny) are three times lower than in New York (where it is not so sunny). The looked into the matter, and confirmed that sunlight seems to be the main reason.
Vitamin D levels seems to be a part of the equation. For example, studies have found that supplementation with vitamin D can dramatically lower the risk of any type of cancer. But vitamin D isn’t the whole reason. There’s something about natural sunlight that offers additional protection beyond vitamin D.
We all know that plants grow in response to sunlight. Well, strange as it may seem, the brain seems to grow in response to sunlight as well. Research has shown that sunlight produces nerve growth. And it is shown to be particularly beneficial for a part of the brain called the hippocampus. A healthy hippocampus is associated with lower stress levels and improved memory.
Vitamin D produced by natural sunlight is also associated with brain health. Research has shown that cognitive function among adults is lower when vitamin D levels are low. But when vitamin D levels are replenished, cognitive function increases.
And finally, sunlight has been proven to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Plus, among those with the disease, sunlight has been shown to improve their health. One study showed that natural sunlight exposure could halt deterioration among those with Alzheimer’s.
Did you know that depression linked to a lack of sunlight is so common that it has it’s own name? It’s called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD occurs as a result of too little light exposure.
SAD occurs most commonly during the winter months when available sunlight is reduced. But it can also affect people year round when they do shift work or otherwise are getting too little sun.
The good news is that even modest increases in sunlight exposure can reverse the condition. And, in fact, natural sunlight is proven to improve just about anyone’s mood. All it takes is 5 to 10 minutes of midday sun on a regular basis to make a difference.
There are many things that can impact sleep and lead to insomnia. Among them is light. For one thing, keep light out of the bedroom is important. But it’s not only what you do at night that matters. Daytime light exposure also matters.
Your brain produces a hormone called melatonin which plays a role in sleep. But it only does that when it’s dark enough. However, once it starts creating melatonin, it won’t stop until you get some bright light such as natural sunlight. And it turns out that if you don’t shut down melatonin production during the day, you’ll have trouble with sleep at night.
So what to do? Ideally, natural sunlight for half an hour in the morning will sort things out for you. Natural sunlight is bright enough and has the right light frequencies to do the trick. Except for specialized products, electric lights cannot do the same.
High blood pressure is an epidemic among men. Chronic high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, or other such conditions.
Fortunately, one of the solutions is sunlight. Researchers have found that as soon as sunlight touches the skin, it causes the blood pressure to normalize. The result is healthier blood vessels and a happier heart and brain.
Getting More Sun
Research shows that the best way to get more natural sunlight is to get out in the sun regularly. Obviously not every day will be sunny, but many of the benefits can be had even on overcast days. For example, the brightness outside on an overcast day is still hundreds of times greater than an artificially lighted indoor environment.
So make a habit of getting outside in the sunlight as close to daily as possible.
While the skin cancer risk has been overstated by most, you still should be careful to protect yourself from burning. A sunburn is more than just an inconvenience. It’s damaging to the skin. One of the best ways to protect against sunburn is to get regular sunlight exposure instead of laying out on the beach for two weeks each year. Just 5 to 10 minutes a day at midday is often enough.
Make getting in the sun daily a habit for life. You’ll be glad you did.