The importance that a regular dose of sunshine plays in our lives should never be underestimated. Trust me I know, I came from a distant land when the sun never shone before making the Sunshine Coast my home. I am always aware that I smile more on days when it is sunny than on those days when it is not. There is however perhaps a little more to this than first meets the eye.
When we don’t get enough sunshine it effects how we behave and that in turn impacts on our health. Seasonal Affective Disorder, a type of depression, has long since been recognised as effecting those who live far from the equator. The impact of this is mood changes, feeling sad, grumpy and anxious, sleeping too much, constant tiredness, and eating lots of carbs and gaining weight.
In absence of exposure to sunshine has been linked to low levels of serotonin and melatonin in the brain. Serotonin being a neurotransmitter which controls moods and combats depression, and melatonin being the hormone that ‘manages’ sleep.
In addition to the above it is crucial that the body is exposed to sufficient sunlight to enable it to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for bone health. Low amounts of vitamin D is responsible for rickets for instance, as well as being linked with other medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, breast, prostate and colon cancer, heart disease and stroke complications.
Although it is of course important to stay sun smart to minimise the risk of skin cancer, it is equally important to find a sensible balance to secure some regular exposure and avoid the consequences of not getting enough.
Try and find the time in your busy diaries to get out more and get a regular dose of UV.