Sunlight is extremely important for the survival of all life forms on earth. Keep aside the global impacts, at the micro level, adequate exposure to the sun triggers necessary changes in the body of living organisms to help soundly function mentally and physically.
Why Is Sunlight Important?
Sunlight affects humans in both good and bad ways but its benefits outweigh far too much than the adverse impacts. Sun rays impact a wide array of bodily functions from the sleep cycle, and energy levels to mental health, and more. For example, sunlight assists in Vitamin D synthesis and provides serotonin which aids in bone strength and our sleep-wake cycles respectively. Besides, numerous other aspects make sunlight so indispensable that it cannot be emphasized. Under this light, it is important to note that not getting enough sunlight can cause adverse impacts for example weakening of the immune system, and increased vulnerability to diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer, the flu, etc.
Let us have an in-depth look into some of the health issues arising out of lack of adequate exposure to sunlight.
Irregular Sleep-Wake Cycle
Sunlight aids in the production of hormones namely, serotonin and melatonin. Together, these two regulate sleep-wake cycles and help us keep a consistent schedule. Serotonin helps us wake up and melatonin assists in sleeping. In case of too little sunlight exposure, one may have trouble getting tired and wanting to sleep at night. Similarly one may feel exhausted and hard to wake up during the day especially due to melatonin deficiency.
An inadequate sun bath is likely to throw off sleep cycles and make one feel tired more often. This exhaustion due to less sun exposure can affect body metabolism and trigger our body’s want to consume too much food to compensate for the energy lacking. Sun’s UV rays also aid in the production of the body’s nitric oxide, a nutrient that ensures the smooth working of metabolic processes. So lack of sunlight may hamper nitric oxide formation which leads to weight gain.
Serotonin formation in our brains triggered by sunlight gives us the necessary energy we need to think, focus, and complete tasks all day long. Sunlight exposure also aids in the production of Vitamin D. So when we don’t get enough of it, our body doesn’t create serotonin or vitamin D to the required level. This makes people tired and lethargic as a result it becomes difficult to focus on anything.
Lack of sunlight can cause stress levels and blood pressure to shoot up. A report from 2020 finds that UV radiation from the sun can be associated with lower blood pressure. Hypertension can put you at risk for heart disease or stroke, so it’s best to make it a habit of spending some time outside in the sun.
Everyone knows how looking directly into the sun can damage eyes, but lack of sunlight may also be bad for eyesight. It’s very much possible that inadequate sunlight exposure can cause nearsightedness or inability to see things clearly unless they’re near.
Higher Risk Of Cancer
A study reveals that those living in areas with less sun and those affected by vitamin D deficiency have more risk of developing common cancers.
Low levels of vitamin D and serotonin deficiency have often been linked to triggers of depression, and other issues like low self-esteem, irritability, OCD, and anxiety.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
For some folks, lack of sun in winter months can cause them to feel depressed and suffer from mood fluctuations. This is quite common in cold countries where people don’t get exposed to sunlight for many days or weeks.
Weak Bones & Teeth
A major aspect of vitamin D is that plays a pivotal role in maintaining bone strength and tenacity. Sunlight aids in our body’s ability to absorb calcium and collagen, which keeps our bones and teeth strong and healthy. So, inadequate sunlight exposure or vitamin D deficiency can lead to several problems like bone loss and osteoporosis in the body.
Vitamin D and healthy sleeping habits both determine the quality of the immune system in the human body. Lack of sunlight keeps deters from sleeping well and also makes one vitamin D deficient, thus it hits the immune system causing such people to fall sick more often. Vitamin D deficiency especially has been found to make people more vulnerable to colds and flu, as well as infection and autoimmune issues.
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