ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

California Dreamin': Sunlight, Serotonin & The Brain

Updated on May 25, 2020
Marra profile image

BA, Social Psychology, MA Psychology, AA Latin American Studies, Behavioral Health Researcher & Advocate

author's own photo. copyrighted. ©2020janemcrae. all rights reserved.

The Sun: Friend or Foe

Sunlight has its action on brain the neurotransmitter---serotonin. Illicit drug use also has a similar action on serotonin. Neurological and behavioral health disorders have been implicated in too much or lack of sunlight, thereby affecting serotonin, according to research.

Mental Health Problems & Serotonin

Physical and mental health maladies surrounding serotonin in nurses, are the subject of many studies involving sunlight. Nurses typically must remain inside for their workday, each day. This mitigates chances for proper sunlight exposure, which can alter serotonin.

The Unborn

Additionally, amongst psychological and medical research teams, deep concern exists centering on developing fetal brains. In utero, a neonate is highly vulnerable to the effects of too much, or too little serotonin. Both can negatively affect the fetus. The pregnant mother may not be receiving enough sunlight each day. Some studies using mice, do in fact, support this theory.

Serotonin and Neonates

Scholarly research data provides much needed investigation concerning frequency and duration of sunlight - as a serotonin boost. Of late, serotonin {over and under production}, has been implicated in hindering brain development, in unborn children. Could it be that serotonin has been de-throned as the king of neurotransmitters, and its once believed, healthful role in brain function?

The 5HT-6 Response

When too much serotonin is produced, studies indicate that it tends to suppress the serotonin transporter or (SERT), in human fetuses. When SERT is damaged, the 5HT-6 receptor activation associated with a fetus’s brain development, may be interrupted or stopped altogether.

When A Fetus's Brain Stops Growing

These neonatal studies have profound implications for expectant mothers, who, by various means during pregnancy -- change serotonin's action.

Adults and Serotonin
Neonatal brain development issues, with regard to malfunctioning serotonin levels, is not the only concern. The role of serotonin in adults is also relevant. Studies show vulnerabilities can develop in adults, if the cortical brain circuitry has been affected by serotonin problems. This may be associated with nervous system disorders, and impose life-long, stress-related susceptibility to mental health disorders.

Autism, Depression, & Serotonin

Based on the above named research, faulty serotonin levels at any stage of life, may critically impair the formation of neuronal circuits, pre-disposing an individual to a broad range of disorders, which include depression and autism.

Feeling Good On Such A Fine Day

Serotonin is the feel-good neurotransmitter, responsible for its uplifting effects in humans. However, its role in brain health is much larger. Chemical imbalances involving serotonin are shown in studies to be positively affected by Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors, or SSRI's - as well as sunlight. SSRI's help make serotonin more available in the brain. Illicit drugs act on serotonin as well. The response can cause someone to feel really good, which plays a role in devastating addiction cycles. Clinical research indicates individuals withdrawing from illicit drugs, often experience severe depression, in the absence of the serotonin lift.

The Short Course

Studies investigating sunlight and its association with the decrease [or increase] of serotonin production, find notable implications in human brain function. ~

Helpful References:

Excess of serotonin affects neocortical pyramidal neuron migration. Trans- Psychiatry. 2011 Oct; 1(10): e47. Published online 2011 Oct 11. doi: 10.1038/tp.2011.49. PMCID: PMC3309486. PMID: 22833193.

Gaspar P, Cases O, Maroteaux L. The developmental role of serotonin: news from mouse molecular genetics. Nat Rev Neuroscience. 2003;4:1002–1012. [PubMed].

Rana Sagha Zadeh, Mardelle McCuskey Shepley, G., et al. The impact of windows and daylight on acute-care nurses' physiological, psychological, and behavioral health. HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal 7 (4), 35-61, 2014.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 J McRae BA MA Psy


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)