As we're looking at a warm, sunny week ahead, the benefits of taking just a 5-15 minute break to sit in the sun has huge benefits.
Sunlight triggers the release of a feel-good hormone, serotonin. This hormone is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. Where there is a deficiency of serotonin, the risk of depression increases, and some may suffer seasonal affective disorder (SAD) where their mood is related to their exposure to sunlight. Anxiety-related disorders and panic attacks have also been linked with changing seasons and reduced sunlight.
Vitamin D is a much talked about hormone, where exposure to ultraviolet-B radiation from the sun triggers its production. Vitamin D plays a huge role in bone health, and deficiencies are linked to osteoporosis, rickets and osteomalacia.
Although excessive exposure to sunlight can contribute to skins cancers, moderate amounts of sunlight has preventative benefits when it comes to cancer. It has been found that in areas where people live with fewer hours of sunlight, they have higher risks to specific types of cancers.
Sunlight has also been found to help treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, jaundice and acne.
We clearly need to be careful when it comes to prolongued exposure to direct sunlight (more than 15 minutes), by using sun protection, but we should all be mindful or trying to get some sunshine on the face and arms to boost our physical and mental health.