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Health Benefits of the Sun

Health Benefits of the Sun

We often think about avoiding the sun in the summer.  We hide inside until it’s cool at dusk.  Or if we have to go out, we hide under a hat and smears of sunscreen. But the sun can have some fantastic health benefits too, in small doses.

According to care2.com, Here are a few benefits to catching rays in moderation:

1. Creates Vitamin D. Through a complex process, the sun helps our body produce Vitamin D.  A pre-cursor vitamin is sent to our skin and when it is hit by sunlight it becomes Vitamin D. This vitamin helps keep many parts of our body working well. It strengthens our bones, strengthens our immune systems, and may even lower the risks of Multiple Sclerosis.

2. Eases Depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder is a mood disorder that causes depression seasonally.  One effective treatment for this is regular amounts of sunlight.  Being in the sunlight creates a natural anti-depressant called serotonin.  So being in the sunlight can lift our mood.

3. Helps Sleep. The light that comes into our eyes directly affects our sleep cycle.  When there is bright light, we are not sleepy.  When lights begin to dim, a tiny gland releases melatonin that makes us sleepy.  When we see natural light during the day, it helps that gland differentiate between day and night, creating better sleep for us later.

So don’t avoid the sun’s rays completely this summer.  A moderate amount (about 20-30 minutes daily) of sun exposure can do a great deal for your health.

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