Provided you protect yourself properly and do not abuse it, the sun and sunbathing are beneficial to our health. Indeed, the sun is our main source of vitamin D, essential for the proper functioning of the body and the consolidation of bones and teeth.
It also acts positively on our morale by stimulating well-being hormones and providing a healthy glow.
Thus, it is often recommended to take a walk in the sun or to sunbathe to promote health and general wellness.
Video Summary – Health Benefits of Sunbathing
Health Benefits of the Sun
1. Contributes to our well-being
Although not all of us are sensitive to it the same way, sunlight causes the production of feel-good neurohormones. Just as the lack of light sometimes leads to seasonal depression, exposure to the sun recharges our batteries! These neuro-hormones also regulate appetite, prevent snacking and the desire for fatty and sugary foods. This explains in particular why it is often easier to lose weight in the summer than during winter
Furthermore, thanks to the infrared heat, the sun allows the secretion of endorphins and has a relaxing effect on muscle tension.
Solar radiation also balances our chronobiology, the alternation of sleep-wake cycles, our body rhythms having consequences on our general balance.
2. Encourages better ventilation
When the weather is sunny, we often spend more time outdoors than confined within four walls. We are more willing to ventilate our homes, we are better oxygenated, and we also practice more outdoor activities. Better oxygenation combined with more physical exercise generally promotes health and fitness.
3. Promotes the synthesis of vitamin D
While a diet rich in oily fish remains essential for the synthesis of vitamin D (especially through the consumption of cod liver oil), UVB rays from the sun also perform this function. Be careful, however: prolonged exposure will not allow you to synthesize more vitamin D. A few minutes of exposure is sufficient, provided that the forearms are exposed to the sun for 15 minutes, 3 times a week.
A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, sometimes dry skin, and cramps.
4. Helps with insomnia
Getting enough sun exposure replenishes your energy during the day and then promotes a good night’s sleep. This is thanks to melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep. And even if the piercing rays of the sun wake you up through the curtains, you’ll wake up in a better mood than in winter when the alarm clock rings you out of bed.
5. Good for blood circulation
The sun’s rays have multiple positive effects on your blood, which significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. UVB rays can lower your blood pressure and improve your blood circulation. After 15 minutes in the sun, your body also makes more white and red blood cells, which improves your immunity and allows your blood to “breathe” again. Once again, be careful not to overuse sunbathing. And remember to always use sunscreen to avoid turning red like a lobster.
6. Promotes strong teeth and prevent cavities
To absorb calcium, vitamin D is essential for your body. And calcium is also essential for strong bones and teeth. Taking a sunbathe from time to time will preserve the health of your teeth and prevent cavities.
7. Fights certain skin diseases
Psoriasis, vitiligo, and eczema are some of the skin diseases that are improved by the sun due to the anti-inflammatory effect induced by solar radiation. Be careful, however, to respect a reasonable exposure time (no more than 30 minutes) and never during the hottest hours of the day (prefer the late afternoon sun after 5 p.m.).
8. Makes us more altruistic
When the weather is nice, we tend to be more generous with others, according to a study by American psychologist Michael Cunningham in 1979. The presence or absence of the sun would have an influence on our social behavior. The researcher observed that on sunny days, people left more tips in restaurants and were more inclined to help each other.
9. Helps reduce blood pressure
According to a study published in January 2014 in The Journal of Investigative Dermatology, daily exposure of 30 minutes to the sun’s rays reduces blood pressure and therefore, the risk of certain cardiovascular diseases.
This is partly due to the synthesis of vitamin D (which plays a positive role in immunity) and the secretion of endorphins which produces a relaxing effect.
The simple fact of lying for 30 minutes in the sun, in a park, or on the terrace of a café, relaxes us and can lower blood pressure.
10. Boosts the immune system
The synthesis of vitamin D boosts our immune system. We are therefore less vulnerable to infections, germs, and inflammation, which are present in many autoimmune diseases.
11. Boosts fertility
Sunlight boosts fertility, which increases your chances of getting pregnant and will also boost testosterone levels in men. Summer is therefore the ideal season to have children.
12. Promotes hair growth
In moderation, the sun is good for your hair. It stimulates the blood circulation of the vessels which irrigate the scalp and thus promotes growth.
13. Soothes the eyes
Natural sunlight refreshes our eyes, causing them to exert less effort. It also promotes the natural production of rods, the photosensitive retinal cells that improve our vision.
14. Reduces the risk of osteoporosis
Thanks to the synthesis of vitamin D and its effect on bone mass, the sun reduces the risk of osteoporosis.
15. Promotes sweating
Sweating is perhaps the most unpleasant effect of sunbathing. But did you know that sweating is good for your kidneys?
Indeed, sweating helps the kidneys by evacuating part of our internal waste through the skin. However, be sure to drink enough water and eat salty snacks when you are in the sun, so you don’t get dehydrated too quickly.
Avoid any excess
Despite all its benefits, especially on our morale, we should not abuse the sun whose rays can be dangerous by causing sunstroke, eye damage, and even skin cancer.
Long exposure to the sun can cause premature aging of the skin following repeated sunburns, the appearance of wrinkles, dryness, and loss of flexibility of the skin. It is also recommended to always monitor your moles and to consult a physician if you notice unexpected spots on your skin.
Best time to sunbathe
While taking a sunbathe can have a multitude of health benefits, it is important to avoid harmful exposure that can cause more damage than good. Thus, to avoid harming yourself, you should start by choosing the right time to get under the sun.
Most doctors and experts recommend sunbathing in the morning or the late afternoon. That is before 10 am or after 5 pm (or even 6 pm in certain areas).
Sunbathing during the middle of the day can expose your skin to harmful radiation that could cause certain diseases like skin cancer and moles.
Strong UV rays can also cause serious eye damage to unprotected eyes.
Vanessa is originally from the Ukraine. She has been living in Florida for the last 10 years. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Central Florida and a Master’s degree in Technical Writing from the University of South Florida. She covers mostly health and health-related issues for the Scientific Origin.