At the center of our solar system sits the majestic Sun. The Sun sustains the predictable orbital movement of planets and is our solar system’s main source of heat. Indeed, life would not exist without the Sun, which is why it is impossible to overestimate the importance of the Sun.
For many, reverence for the Sun extends into a veritable religion, with sun worship taking on a prominent role in some cultures. Sun worshippers revere the Sun as the source of wisdom and the bestower of all life. Though I am not a sun worshipper, I do acknowledge the life-sustaining role the Sun plays in my life. The Sun is an eternal spring of wellness and health benefits that is not only powerful but is entirely free!
Here are four reasons why sunshine is healthy for you!
- Sunshine strengthens the immune system
Sunshine helps your body make Vitamin D, which is super helpful for a strong immune system. The process of the Sun’s UV rays converting cholesterol to Vitamin D when sunshine hits your skin is called “Vitamin D Synthesis.” Today, more than ever, we need to do everything we can to strengthen our immune systems. And what better way (and easier way) than to begin by simply stepping outside to take in some sun? Oh, and did I mention that doing so will cost you absolutely nothing? That is, of course, unless you live in Rjukan, Russia, where there is no sunlight for six months of the year. In that case, you would have to pay some money to get away and catch some rays.
- Sunshine helps with weight loss
I’ll admit, this one caught me by surprise. It seems everyone is searching for a magic bullet solution to weight loss. The truth is, there isn’t such a thing. However, a good alternative is to get yourself into the Sun’s rays early in the morning so the sunshine can reduce body fat. According to one study, as little as twenty minutes of sunshine a day will help lower your Body Mass Index.
- Sunshine helps emotional wellbeing
When I was a kid, I listened to the music of the children’s troubadour singer Raffi. One of his popular hits was titled “Mr. Sun.” The lyrics are:
Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, Please shine down on me. Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, hiding behind the tree. These little children are asking you, to please come out so they can play with you. Oh Mr. Sun, Sun, Mr. Golden Sun, please shine down on me!”
The Sun can have a powerful, positive effect on our emotional wellbeing when we connect our lives with it. And, unlike the lyrics of the song, which suggest that the problem is the Sun not coming out to be with us, the problem usually is us not coming out to be with the Sun!
Scientifically, the Sun’s positive effect on our mood is explained by the its uncanny ability to boost the levels of serotonin, also known as the “happiness hormone,” in our bodies.
- Sunshine improves sleep
Have you ever taken a sleeping pill? The active ingredient of a sleeping pill is melatonin, which is a hormone the body should naturally produce in levels sufficient enough to provide a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, many of us don’t produce enough of this sleeping hormone, resulting in restless nights and subsequent dreary days, and therefore leading to a host of other wellness problems. It’s amazing how impactful, in a good way, a healthy sleep pattern can be.
Interestingly enough, the more daylight you experience, the more melatonin your body produces at night.
The bottom line The Sun is probably the most underappreciated source of wellness available to us. Considering how prevalent and ever-present it is in our lives, I’m afraid that too many of us are neglecting the powerful, healing effects of our solar system’s central star. Perhaps it’s time to disconnect a little more from technology and reconnet with nature, by simply walking outside and taking in some sunshine.