Staying indoors for too long may deprive our bodies from the benefits of natural sunlight
By Nadine Halili | Photo by Fritz Bielmeier/Unsplash
Sunlight can boost mood, improve sleep and help produce nutrients the body needs. Although the sun’s UV rays are detrimental to health, moderate sun exposure actually provides plenty of benefits to our bodies. The harmful effects of too much sun include sunburn and sun rash (from over 30 minutes of sun exposure), which can lead to skin irritation or worse, skin cancer. So it’s advised to avoid peak hours between 10 am to 3 pm. Sunbathing, for at most 20 minutes, with sunscreen with at least an SPF 30 sunscreen is encouraged to absorb the benefits of sunlight.
With the enhanced community quarantine extended yet again, those who get to stay home may be missing their daily dose of natural sunlight. Lack of sunlight can contribute to multiple health problems like weak bones, foot deformities, skin problems, weight gain and cognitive issues. As observed in countries with winter, weight gain leading to obesity and diabetes has been associated with lack of nitric oxide, a nutrient stimulated by sunlight that keeps your metabolism running smoothly and discourages binge eating.
Lack of sunlight can contribute to multiple health problems like weak bones, foot deformities, skin problems, weight gain and cognitive issues
Sunlight exposure can also affect mental health: drops in serotonin levels due to lack of sunlight hitting areas of your retina that trigger its production can potentially lead to major depression or seasonal affective disorder. On the other hand, 10 to 20 minutes of sun exposure can help you sleep better since sunlight helps regulate your body’s circadian rhythm and acts as a natural cue to sync your sleeping schedule with the sun’s rising and setting.
The sun is probably one of the best sources of vitamin D (it’s only found in certain fish, egg yolks and milk), which is something your body needs to help build calcium for bone health. It also helps regulate the immune system and the neuromuscular system while also playing major roles in the life cycle of human cells.
Even while we take refuge in our homes amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to listen to what our body needs. Aside from lack of sunlight, other threats of staying too long indoors include breathing in dust and other harmful particles from your furniture. Spend a few minutes outside to get some fresh air and sunlight to keep your body healthy and boost your overall mood.
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