by Tony Gjokaj July 26, 2021 3 min read

What are the benefits of getting direct sun exposure?

Our human skin "runs" (for lack of better word) on a serotogenic system. This means that it is capable of producing serotonin. Sunlight exposure helps produce serotonin.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates our mood, digestion, bone density, and sleep. It is synthesized from tryptophan as a result of Vitamin D, which is synthesized from sun exposure.

So in this post, we are going to explore what this means to us and why sunlight exposure benefits us.

Let's dive in!

I. Sunlight Improves Sleep Quality

Sunlight exposure can help you sleep better.

It has been long-debated as to whether or not serotonin can aid in improving sleep quality. In a recent study, scientists found that serotonin may have the potential of improving sleep quality as a means of building sleep pressure.

Sleep pressure is the pressure that builds up in our day-to-day wakefulness (and energy expenditure) to help us fall asleep.

This pressure builds up the longer we stay awake, and also builds up based on activities we do throughout the day (exercise, work, etc).

In addition to improving serotonin, sunlight exposure can help your body produce more melatonin in the evening. Melatonin is a hormone that our brain secretes at night. It essentially primes our body for sleep. Melatonin is sometimes supplemented with to improve sleep quality.

So if you have trouble with sleeping and you don't go outside often, consider getting some sun, or supplementing with Vitamin D.

II. Sunlight Reduces Stress

Natural light exposure produces serotonin in our bodies. As serotonin helps regulate mood, it could potentially help you reduce stress levels.

In addition, Vitamin D has also been shown to reduce the rate of sickness. As sickness does apply stressors on our body, we believe it is essential to expose yourself to some sunlight or to supplement with Vitamin D regularly.

III. Sunlight Helps Build Stronger Bones

Sun exposure can help you build stronger bones. Vitamin D has been shown to improve bone health when exposed to sunlight or when supplemented. According to one Meta-Analysis, proper Vitamin D supplementation prevented the risk of bone fractures among individuals over 65.

IV. Sunlight Fights Depressive Symptoms

It is quite common to find that people who don't get regular sun exposure (lack of Vitamin D) encounter depressive symptoms. This is commonly found during the winter time where Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) runs rampant.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is where a person experiences depression as a result of a lack of sunlight-induced serotonin.

SAD usually impacts many during the winter time, with these symptoms going to remission around spring and summer time.

I used to encounter this a lot when I would work from home and not go outside the entire day. Now, I force myself to get some sunlight during lunch time to "recharge myself" if I don't get morning exposure.

It makes a huge difference.

V. Sunlight Can Potentially Extend Life

Sunlight can potentially extend our lives. According to one study that monitored 30,000 Swedish women for 20 years, they found that those who spent more time in the sun lived longer.

This should be more than enough for you, but we can hypothesize further. Vitamin D aids in improving immune health. It also reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases, colorectal cancer, and a variety of other challenges one might face in their lives.

It does not hurt to get some sun, especially if it helps you live longer.

Sunlit Strategies

The Sun provides us a variety of benefits: from looking better, feeling better, and living longer.

To conclude this post, here are some strategies to utilize to get your sun on:

  • Expose yourself to direct sunlight 15-30 minutes per day. Depending on your skin pigmentation, you may need more or less sun exposure.
  • Try to get some early morning sunlight before you get into work. A brisk morning walk around 7 AM could improve your Vitamin D intake.
  • Go outside on your lunch breaks. Embrace the sun on your lunch breaks. This has always been the best time for me to energize myself.
  • If you don't get adequate sunlight, consider supplementing with Vitamin D3. Supplementing with 1000-3000 IU of Vitamin D is an efficacious amount.

Do these things, and watch your life around the sun get better.

I just wanted to take the time to thank you all for reading this post!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at support@reforgedperformance.com, or direct message us on Instagram.

Until next time, Reforged Legion!

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.



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