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Sun For Good Health – Why Do We Need the Sun

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We all know that excessive exposure to sunlight can cause skin cancer, wrinkling of the skin, and aging of the skin. However, sunlight is very good for our overall health.

Understanding the power of sunlight is very important. Sunlight intensity is measured in “lux” or “luxes”, for example, on a bright sunny day outdoor light can reach three-thousand lux. However, an indoor environment brightly lit will provide only 400 lux. That is less than 15 percent of daylight brightness.

The human body depends on a natural body hormone called melatonin to enhance sleep. Throughout our adult life melatonin decreases, but peaks during childhood. Have you ever wondered why children sleep so much longer and better than adults do?

The body regulates melatonin production carefully. The light-dark cycle largely controls this process. During the nighttime in a dark environment, melatonin production is at its peak. This process is regulated by the pineal gland, which is located at the center of the brain. The pineal gland serves as a type of “clock” that regulates this process at the right time.

The body does not stockpile melatonin. In order to sleep well at night, we need a moderate supply. In order to boost melatonin output it is known that daily exposure to natural sunlight is a necessity. Manufactured supplements and artificial lights are a weak substitute, and are not worth the effort. The best way to get the melatonin your body needs is to get daily sun exposure.

Nevertheless, there are other benefits of getting adequate sunlight. Sunlight is a potent germ killer. That is why in the olden days people laid their blankets, quilts, and other items out in the sun to be sterilized. Sunlight also gives the skin a healthy glow and makes it smooth and malleable.

A sense of well-being is also attributed to sunlight along with the elevation of mood in most people. Although sun exposure is very beneficial, you must remember to use moderation when you expose yourself to direct sunlight. Acute and chronic depression can also be treated with sunshine along with exercise. Have you ever wondered why we feel so gloomy on a rainy day? During the winter months, try to get as much sunshine as possible.

Vitamin D is another great benefit of the sun’s rays. When the sun hits the skin, the body is able to manufacture vitamin D. The body needs vitamin D in order to pick up calcium from the intestines for use in the building of healthy strong bones. Osteoporosis, and both childhood and adult rickets can be prevented with adequate sun exposure.

Other benefits of sunlight also include:

Jumpstarts the immune system

Alleviates pain from swollen arthritic joints

Lower blood cholesterol levels

Relieve certain symptoms of PMS

Did you know?

– PMS, fertility, sleep, and your energy can all be improved with an extra hour of sun light a day.

– Mental health can be affected positively by seasonal variations in light levels. A great indication of this is a person who suffers with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is treated with light therapy.

– Colon, breast, and prostate cancer are less likely to affect people that get more sunshine.

Although sunlight has many benefits, there are also risk factors. Sunlight can cause skin cancer, especially in light-skinned people. Everyone should be careful and use the necessary precautions before exposing the skin to sunlight over a long period. Healthy living tissue is burned when over exposed to the sun. Skin cancer could become a reality for people who get repeated burns, which can also cause irreversible damage. Premature aging, wrinkling of the skin, oil glands, and skin elasticity can all be damaged due to repeated sunburn and deep tanning of the skin. A high-fat diet along with excessive exposure to the sun is also associated with an increased risk factor to getting skin cancer.

Here are some guidelines for safe, healthy exposure to sunlight:

– Like wearing sunglasses on your skin, modest tanning can be protective. However, you must know your own tolerance to sunlight. Five minutes of sun exposure a day should be a starting point for fair-skinned people and redheads. Ten to fifteen minutes a day could be a starting point for darker skinned people. For most people the ultimate goal should be thirty minutes of sunlight a day.

– Sunburns raise the risk of both malignant melanoma (the deadliest form of cancer), and squamous cell carcinoma, which kills a combined nine-thousand Americans a year. Therefore, it is not wise to burn. If needed wear protective clothing, eyewear, and a protective sunscreen.

– Get your skin ready with proper moisturizing before heading on trips or vacations to hot locations.

– All the vitamin D you need will be provided by five minutes of sunshine on your face and hands each day.

– Lift your spirits, and improve your health by opening your windows and letting the sunlight in each morning.

– There is no substitute for the real thing. Each day should be spent soaking up some sunlight.

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Source by Jason Hunter

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