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Sunlight’s Effect On Your Brain & Health

A woman in a sunny window.

Benefits of Sunshine

You’ve probably had many people tell you that you should get out and get some sun, but why is this phrase so popular? Does the sun really have that much of an effect on your physical and mental health? The benefits of sunshine are powerful, and they can affect everything from your mood to your immune system. Learn more about the health benefits of sunlight when you read our blog now!


1. Better Mental Health

Your brain is a complex creation with many processes that can be triggered by your surroundings. One of the biggest things that affect your brain’s chemicals is light and darkness. When you’re exposed to sunlight, the brain begins to release hormones, one of which is serotonin. Serotonin is the hormone most associated with mood-lifting effects, helping you feel calm and focused.


Without enough time in the sun, serotonin levels can drop, and you won’t be feeling as happy, relaxed, and focused as usual. The benefits of sunshine are why many people get sun lamps during the darker winter months. They want to avoid the seasonal depression (also known as seasonal affective disorder) that comes with the lack of sun during winter.


2. Strong Bones

A woman sitting on a cliff in the sun


Many studies have looked into how the sun affects your body. In addition to spurring your brain to create serotonin, it also encourages your skin to create more vitamin D. According to one study, after spending just 30 minutes in the sun, your vitamin D levels spike. While the amount of vitamin D your body produces varies by skin tone, every single person who spent time outside saw some benefit of sunshine!


The particle of sunlight that causes the creation of international units (IUs) of vitamin D is called ultraviolet-B radiation. While too much exposure can cause problems, if you use sunscreen and moderate your exposure, you can enjoy the health benefits of sunlight without risky your safety!


Because vitamin D encourages your body to absorb and retain calcium, you want to get as much of it as you can. Low vitamin D has been linked to bone-wasting diseases, like osteoporosis and osteomalacia in adults, as well as rickets in children.


3. Better Sleep

Sunshine is an essential part of regulating your circadian rhythm — another health benefit of sunlight. While spending time in the sun helps your body produce brain chemicals that keep you alert and happy, as soon as the sun goes down, your body starts creating a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin is essential to helping you sleep, and your brain produces it about two hours after the sun sets. The sun is really in charge of telling your body when to stay awake and when to go to sleep. Without enough time in the sun, your body might be telling you that it’s bedtime all the time.


Enjoy the benefits of sunshine even at night when you regulate hormone production in the brain through appropriate exposure to sunlight.


4. Stronger Immune System

A woman looking up at the sun.


Vitamin D is vital to bone health, but it’s also critical for a healthy immune system. Because few foods naturally have vitamin D, we need to get it from another place — like the sun. Vitamin D regulates the immune system to combat seasonal diseases like the flu, but it also helps your body slow or stop the development of autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 Diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and pemphigus. Did you ever think that one of the benefits of sunshine was a reduced risk of illness, infection, and cancer?


Sunlight, Sun Bright

Everyone knows that protection from UV rays is important, but that doesn’t mean that all the effects of the sun are bad! The sun is responsible for the continuation of life on Earth! 


After reading about all these benefits of sunshine, it’s evident that the sun has a significant impact on your life — just remember to wear sunscreen to protect your skin and sunglasses to protect your eyes.


A Rainbow Symphony infographic on sunlight's effect on your brain and health