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Get Your Vitamin D! Why Sunlight is Good for You

by Doug Stewart

Sunlight is good for you

(photo by  Martin LaBar via Compfight)

We’ve all been warned that too much sun exposure is bad for us. There’s a contrary argument to this that you probably haven’t heard: lack of sunshine is just as bad.

Granted, laying in the sun until you burn is a dangerous idea, but getting enough light onto your skin and into your eyes can actually be good for you!

 

Sunlight early in the day (say, before 10am) is important for several reasons:

- It resets your internal body clock to better align with day and night. All kinds of body functions rely on these circadian rhythms (body temperature, sleep, blood pressure, etc).

- It sends a strong cue to your brain that it’s daytime and time to be awake and active (you’re most alert around 10am).

- It’s a well documented treatment for depression.

- Sunlight is how your body synthesizes Vitamin D, which is essential for your bones, your cardiovascular health, and for preventing several cancers!

To give you an idea on why sunlight works where artificial light fails, it’s good to know just how bright sunlight can be. The term “lux” is used when measuring light intensity. One lux is about equal to the light of a full moon directly overhead.

- A bright office would emit about 500 lux maximum.

- Sunlight on an overcast day could be twice that – 1000 lux.

- On a sunny day, indirect sunlight can be up to 25,000 lux.

- Direct sunlight on a cloudless day could be as much as 130,000 lux.

It’s no wonder that we’re tired, lethargic, sleepy and depressed in the wintertime. We need sunlight! Head outside first thing in your day, and start feeling great about it!

 

About the author:

Doug Stewart is a blogger at BuildBetterSleep, where he writes about all things sleep related. You can follow Doug on Twitter and Facebook.


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