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How Sunlight Can Benefit Your Health

How Sunlight Can Benefit Your Health

Jan. 30th, 2022

Many people enjoy the feeling of a nice, sunny day along with their fun outdoor activities. It’s been found that spending time outdoors in the sunlight has many health benefits.

Although too much time in the sun with little protection can be harmful to your body, finding a good balance can be beneficial to your health. Here are some of the health benefits that sunlight can provide.

Vitamin D Production

One of the most commonly known health benefits of sunlight is that it allows the body to produce vitamin D, which aids many essential processes in the body.1

The production of vitamin D occurs when sunlight, or UVB rays, hits the skin and interacts with the 7-DHC protein, which produces vitamin D3.1 Vitamin D supports your health in numerous ways, from promoting healthy bones to fighting diseases.

Vitamin D Promotes Healthy Bones

Vitamin D plays a role in managing calcium levels in the blood, which can directly impact your bone health.2 Vitamin D also allows the intestines to absorb calcium and helps the kidneys to retain calcium they would otherwise get rid of.

A deficiency in vitamin D can result in poor bone density, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, and rickets in children.

Vitamin D Helps Fight Diseases

Some research has shown that vitamin D may help prevent certain diseases including:

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Heart disease
  • Severe illnesses3

Serotonin Production

Sunlight is thought to increase the production of serotonin, a hormone that regulates your mood and happiness.5 Serotonin can also improve an individual’s ability to focus, and plays a role in appetite and digestion.4

When sunlight enters the eyes, it stimulates parts of the retina, which cues the brain to produce serotonin.6 Without any exposure to sunlight, your serotonin levels may take a dip. Low levels of serotonin are linked to depression and behavioral disorders.

Additionally, serotonin is what helps your body produce melatonin, a hormone in your body that plays a role in your sleep.7 The pineal gland, which is located in the brain, chemically alters each of these hormones to create the other.

The body’s sleep-wake cycle is affected by how much sunlight you’re exposed to. Experts recommend getting exposure to sunlight during the day, even if that means sitting by a sunny window. It’s also important to limit exposure to light at night time to help you get better sleep at night.

Immune System Support

The vitamin D that your body absorbs from the sunlight supports the immune system, which can help prevent illnesses, infections, and serious diseases.8 Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties boost your immunity, while also aiding in brain activity and muscle functioning.9 Without adequate vitamin D levels, you could be more at risk for infections and autoimmune diseases.

Lower Blood Pressure

Studies have shown that individuals with high levels of vitamin D, which can be obtained by sunlight exposure, had lower blood pressure and less of a risk for hypertension.10

There are numerous studies that detect a possible change in blood pressure with exposure to sunlight. One study published showed that UV light releases nitric oxide in the skin, which can dilate arteries and lower blood pressure.11 Lower blood pressure can reduce your risk of stroke and heart attack.  

How to Safely Spend Time in the Sun

Although spending time in the sun provides health benefits, it’s necessary to make sure you’re protecting your skin when you’re out in the sun. Too much sun exposure can cause sunburns and skin damage that can affect your skin’s overall health.

Here are a few tips to ensure you’re staying safe while spending time in the sun.

Wear Sunscreen and Protective Clothing

Sunscreen is important whenever you’re spending time outdoors. Sunscreen is proven to prevent skin cancer, burns, and aging that is caused by the sun.12

To protect your skin while you’re getting your daily sunlight exposure, be sure to wear sunscreen and protective clothing when necessary.

Here are some tips when it comes to sunscreen:

  • Find the best sunscreen for your skin type, whether it’s a physical or chemical sunscreen.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
  • Re-apply sunscreen if you’re in the sun longer than an hour, especially if you sweat or get wet.12

Limit Your Time in the Sun

Some daily time in the sun is beneficial to your health, but too much time in the sun can be harmful. An extended amount of time in the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer.

Try going out in the sunlight for at least 15 minutes a day to get the health benefits from the sun’s rays. If it’s summer time and you’re enjoying a day on the beach, make sure to re-apply sunscreen and spend time in the shade when needed.

If it’s winter and you don’t want to risk being in the cold, try bundling up to step outside for a bit, or sit by a sunny window.

Get Your Daily Dose of Sunlight

Getting outside to experience a healthy dose of sunlight each day can be beneficial to your health. Take the time today to spend a few minutes in the sun. Don’t forget your sun protection!

To learn more about Saber Healthcare and the services we provide, click here.

Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.


  1. Dresden, Danielle. “What to know about the health benefits of sunlight.” Healthline Media, Medical News Today. November 3rd, 2020. Accessed January 25th, 2022.
  2. Ware, Megan. “What are the health benefits of vitamin D?” Healthline Media, Medical News Today. November 7th, 2019. Accessed January 25th, 2022.
  3. Devje, Shahzadi. “Vitamin D Benefits.” Healthline Media, January 14th, 2022. Accessed January 25th, 2022.
  4. Nall, Rachel. “What Are the Benefits of Sunlight?” Healthline Media, April 1st, 2019. Accessed January 26th, 2022.
  5. “Brain Hormones.” Endocrine Society, January 23rd, 2022. Accessed January 26th, 2022.
  6. Lotker, Michelle. “Sunlight, Serotonin and Your Sleep Cycle.” PBS North Carolina, December 22nd, 2020. Accessed January 26th, 2022.
  7. “Melatonin.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic. March 3rd, 2021. Accessed January 26th, 2022.
  8. Peterson, Amberlee. “7 Health Benefits of Sunlight.” SelectHealth, Accessed January 26th, 2022.
  9. “Vitamin D.” Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Mayo Clinic. February 9th, 2021. Accessed January 26th, 2022.
  10. Hinck, Michael. “Can Exposure to the Sun Affect Your Blood Pressure?” Flushing Hospital Medical Center, August 3rd, 2018. Accessed January 26th, 2022.
  11. “Could sunshine lower blood pressure? Study offers enlightenment.” American Heart Association, February 28th, 2020. Accessed January 26th, 2022.
  12. “How to Choose the Right Sunscreen.” Saber Healthcare Group, May 28th, 2021. Accessed January 25th, 2022.