“Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
You’ve probably heard about vitamin D and all its benefits. Basically, our bodies make vitamin D into chemicals that our bodies know how to use. These chemicals are actually hormones. So, while you get a tan or enjoy the warm sun on your skin, you’re also benefiting your hormones and your mood.
It’s believed that sunlight increases serotonin production. Serotonin is a hormone that boosts mood and increases focus.
A lot of us are told to go out in the middle of the day or the afternoon to get the most benefits. In reality, you can get the most health benefits by taking in the sunshine in the morning. Specifically, 8am to 10am is a good window.
One problem is that it can be a challenge to get that morning sunlight every day. In the morning, you’re focusing on getting ready and leaving for work. You might have to get the kids dressed and pack their lunches. So, you might not have enough time to soak up the sun first thing in the morning.
On your days off, when you have more time, you can take a walk or exercise outdoors.
Another way to get a similar effect is by opening your blinds or curtains when the sun comes up. You can let the sunlight in as you get ready for work. Some lamps mimic the same effects. Of course, real sunlight is the best choice, but it's not always feasible.
So, how much vitamin D do you need to see those positive effects? It’s recommended that you get 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands, and face. You should do this two or three times per week. That’s it! So you don’t need to try to make time every day, just when you have enough time.
So, how will you be getting out in the sun? Maybe drink your coffee on the patio before you leave for work. Or start with getting some extra sunlight on the days you have more time in the morning.
Of course, when you go out in the sun, it’s important to use proper sun protection. Make sure you use sunscreen and wear a hat or sunglasses to protect your eyes. While sunshine is good for you—both physically and mentally—too much of it can result in sunburn or lead to skin cancer.