facebook pixel 7 Health Benefits of Sunlight
Site Search
< Blog Home < Healthy Living

7 Health Benefits of Sunlight

Do you know how important it is to get a little sunshine?

Woman in the sunlight, what are the health benefits of sunshine?

Scientifically, sunshine has a lot of benefits for our bodies. Here are seven great reasons to get outside and soak in the sun.

1. Improves your sleep

Your body creates a hormone called melatonin that is critical to helping you sleep. Because your body starts producing it when it’s dark, you usually start to feel sleepy two hours after the sun sets, which is one of the reasons our bodies naturally stay up later in the summer.

Research indicates that an hour of natural light in the morning will help you sleep better. Sunshine regulates your circadian rhythm by telling your body when to increase and decrease your melatonin levels. So, the more daylight exposure you can get, the better your body will produce melatonin when it’s time to go to sleep.

Related: How to Choose Sunscreen and When To Reapply

2. Reduces stress

Melatonin also lowers stress reactivity and being outside will help your body naturally regulate melatonin, which can help reduce your stress level. Additionally, because you're often doing something active when you’re outside (walking, playing, etc.), that extra exercise also helps to lower stress.

3. Maintains strong bones

One of the best (and easiest) ways to get vitamin D is by being outside. Our bodies produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight—about 15 minutes in the sun a day is adequate if you’re fair skinned. And since Vitamin D helps your body maintain calcium and prevents brittle, thin, or misshapen bones, soaking in sun may be just what the doctor ordered.

4. Helps keep the weight off

Getting outside for 30 minutes sometime between 8 a.m. and noon has been linked to weight loss. There, of course, could be other factors to this, but it seems there's a connection between sunlight in the early morning and weight loss.

5. Strengthens your immune system

Vitamin D is also critical for your immune system, and with consistent exposure to sunlight, you can help strengthen it. A healthy immune system can help reduce the risk of illness, infections, some cancers, and mortality after surgery.

6. Fights off depression

It’s not just in your head; there’s a scientific reason being in the sunshine improves your mood. Sunshine boosts your body’s level of serotonin, which is a chemical that improves your mood and helps you stay calm and focused. Increased exposure to natural light may help ease the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder--a change in mood that typically occurs in the fall and winter months when there are fewer hours of daylight.

7. Can give you a longer life

A study that followed 30,000 Swedish women revealed that those who spent more time in the sun lived six months to two years longer than those with less sun exposure. More research needs to be done in this area, but it’s something scientists are continuing to study.

Related: 5 Effective Ways to Soothe Sunburns At Home

Of course, a little sunshine can go a long way (and too much is harmful for our skin). Depending on the shade of your skin, scientists estimate your body can produce vitamin D in about 5 to 30 minutes in the sun. If you're wearing sunscreen, you may not produce as much vitamin D. If you're outside for some much-needed vitamin D, don't expose bare skin longer than 5 to 30 minutes.


SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.


You May Also Like...

Healthcare and Insurance Basics

Have your circumstances recently changed? We’ve got you covered.

If you’ve recently experienced changes to your job or if you’re an employer struggling to offer coverage for your employees, here’s a look at options available to you.

Nutrition and Diet

Crispy Chicken and Avocado Burrito Wraps

These chicken burritos are delicious and easy to make. Whip them up for dinner tonight, or put them in the freezer to have another time.

In the Community

Is Your Organization Keeping Utah Healthy? Apply for Our Award

Each year, we recognize 20 organizations that are making a healthy difference in Utah to help support their missions.

Business

How to Remain Optimistic in a Job Search

These tips just might help you with your job search.

Contenido Español

Consejos para preparar un depósito de alimentos y qué tener en su despensa

Cocinar en casa no tiene que ser complicado.

Related Articles

Related Articles

Healthy Living

How Exercise Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Exercise is a proven way to improve your life by reducing stress and anxiety.

Healthy Living

These Foods Help Fight Fatigue in a Big Way

These foods will help you fight midday drowsiness and fatigue.

Healthy Living

The 3 Most Important Ways to Strengthen Relationships

Want to strengthen your relationships with others? Improve your life using these three tips to improve your relationships with friends, coworkers, and family.

Healthy Living

Which Apple Is the Healthiest For You?

It’s time to compare apples to apples, literally. Find out which apples are the healthiest.

Post Author

Amberlee Lovell Peterson
Amberlee is a content manager, freelance writer, and designer. She is currently working on launching her own podcast and loves baby foxes.