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Sunlight: Good? versus Bad?

Updated on March 14, 2013

In Canada, and the rest of the northern hemisphere the days are getting shorter until December 21st. Which makes this the darkest part of the year. Not seing the sun for days at a time can cause some people to feel 'blue' and depressed. For those suffering this affliction, called Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD), these short and gloomy days of late fall, winter and early spring can be agony.

Not only can reduced exposure to sunlight result in this bio-chemical imbalance but our bodies also need sunlight regularly to produce vitamin D which in turn lets our bones absorb necessairy calcium. Not surprisingly the sun has been called the 'life giving orb' from the beginning of time. It is a proven fact that daily exposure to sunlight reduces stress, improves moods and helps reduce weight caused by water retention etc.

However, regardless of the season, it is important to our systems to get at least 15 to 20 minutes of natural light every single day. (without sunscreen etc.) That's right. While we do need to protect ourselves and watch our sun exposure for long periods of time, our bodies also need full-spectrum natural light daily. Fluorescent and incandescent lights don't give off sufficient enough amount of beneficial rays which our bodies need to provide us with positive health benefits. The most efficient way to reap those benefits is to go outdoors 15-20 minutes a day . Light exposure also boosts serotonin levels which help a body stay alert. But most of all, natural light helps the skin produce the all important vitamin D, which allows the body to absorb calcium, needed for strong bones.

Here is a list of important facts that show why natural sunshine is needed daily:

  • Sunlight increases endorphins. This means a higher feeling of well being and less depression. (SAD)
  • Sunlight lowers blood pressure.
  • Sunlight strengthens the immune system.
  • Sunlight increases the good cholesterol and lowers the bad.
  • Sunlight normalises blood sugar, it increases low blood sugar and lowers high blood sugar.
  • Sunlight is essential for your body to produce vitamin D.
  • Get 15 to 20 minutes of sunlight or just natural light on your face without screening daily. Sunglasses and contact lenses block most of the needed rays.
  • Sunlight helps detoxify the liver.
  • Sunlight increases muscle tone and endurance.
  • Sunlight speeds up healing.
  • Sunlight kills germs.

Sun creams greatly limit or completely block the formation of Vitamin D. So give your body the 15 to 20 minutes daily unobstructed exposure to natural light.

How to get those valuable minutes of sunlight on a regular basis. Go outside whenever possible. Take and enjoy a short walk in the morning or in the afternoon with your dog (who by-the-way also needs the natural light daily). Or maybe just sit on the porch and enjoy your coffee or tea outside. These are some of the ways to get the amount of light the body requires safely.

Here is a list to follow for sunlight damage PREVENTION, most of them are the obvious

Sunlight 15 - 20 minutes on exposed skin is good (naturally use common sense in winter months 20 minutes, whereas in the height of summer at noon 6 -8 minutes will be enough) sunburn is bad it can cause skin cancer

  • Too much sunlight will dry out skin.
  • Too much sunlight will cause premature ageing of skin.
  • Did you know that most often the damage done to the skin by the sun is done before the age of eighteen. (parents not remembering to protect their childrens skin, the teen slattering themselves with tan oils and sitting in the sun for hour at a time etc.)
  • Too bright rays causing damage to eyes especially when doubled up by reflection of water or sand.
  • UV radiation (3 categories as follows UV A, UV B, UV C)
  • 1) UV A, long-wave UV -this radiation is not filtered out in the atmosphere. These rays can pass through glass and will produce some tanning. These are the rays we call natural light and the levels stay relatively constant throughout the day. UV A radiation are the rays we need for our daily dose.
  • 2) UV B, is also the sunburn radiation. Very little is filtered out in the atmosphere by the ozone layer (this is where-in the problem lies, the depleting ozone layer) it does not pass through glass but causes tanning, sunburn, wrinkling, and aging of the skin. Too long an exposure, too often can cause skin cancer. UV B rays are at their highest intensity around noontime and our skin need protection from the most.
  • 3) UV C, short-wave UV -this radiation is mostly filtered out in the atmosphere by the ozone layer (again problems come form the depleting ozone layer)before they reach earth. High exposure of UV C will burn unexposed skin and can cause skin cancer. UV C rays are the rays isolated and used as artificial sources for germicidal lamps. (i.e. artificial UV C rays are used extensively in water purification,air sanitation or filtration systems, used to eliminate molds, bacteria and other contaminants, also commonly used to for surface disinfection for items such as surgery and dentistry tools etc )

The factors that influence the risks of sunlight damage are obviously influenced by skin pigmentation, the ability to tan and the amount of unprotected exposure to sunlight. Protection from the damages all come down to some important facts: using common sense, everything in moderation, wearing protective light clothes and using sun-brellas if necessary especially if ones job is working out-of-doors.

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    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks for taking a look and for commenting. Seriousnuts, you're so right that sun worshiping in moderation early mornings or late afternoons is the key.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • seriousnuts profile image

      seriousnuts 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      Well written, Zsuzsy Bee! I enjoyed reading your hub. I live in a very hot country and need to slather on sunscreens for protection. But you're right, our body still needs sunlight. One thing I would like to add though is the ideal time to go outdoors is early in the morning or late in the afternoon to enjoy the benefits of the sun. Going out between 10am-3pm sunlight without proper protection is dangerous to the skin.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      John, unfortunately the sun can cause different types of cancers from the ones caused by chemically laden foods if one is not careful.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      John 

      7 years ago

      It would be helpful to include a warning that chemically

      laden foods found in the average market and pharmaceuticals

      tend to be the cause behind cancers...not sunlight.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      I have an aversion to gloomy winter days too. Thanks for taking a look and for commenting.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • theuglyvirgin profile image

      theuglyvirgin 

      8 years ago

      Sunshine? Puget Sound here! Is there something called the "sun" that I have never heard of? Alright, not that bad, but close :-) I NEED sunshine and it lifts the soul! Peace & Love!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      8 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Jamesmoralde thanks for taking a look and for commenting. I sure wish we had some of that sunshine, we're in the midst of a snow blizzard right now.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • jamesmoralde profile image

      jamesmoralde 

      8 years ago from Florida, USA

      I say slap on sunblock every time you go out of the house regardless if it's scorching hot or not. at least that's what my girl does...

      thanks for this informative hub!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Anglnwu, thanks for taking a look and for commenting. You're so right that moderation is the key.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 

      9 years ago

      Thanks for the informative hub on sunlight. Here in sunny San Diego, we're never in danger of not having enough sunlight. I love sunlight and it's nice to know the many health benefits of getting enough sunlight, of course, too much has its down sides too. So moderation is the key.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      If you read the hub you should have seen that the good and the bad was discussed. regards Zsuzsy

    • profile image

      Jim 

      9 years ago

      U ALL ARE RONG SUNLIGHT IS BOTH BAD AND GOOD!!!!!!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Benjimester Thanks for taking a look and for commenting

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Benjimester profile image

      Benji Mester 

      9 years ago from San Diego, California

      Go sunlight!  I knew spending lazy days at the beach was a good idea :)  Thanks for the info.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Compu-smart! Glad to be of help. regards Zsuzsy

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      10 years ago from London UK

      Zsuzsy Bee, This is just what I have been interested in finding out and have not had the time too, so thanks for saving me soo much time researching this subject!

      Bookmarked!!

      ;)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Patricia! I guess living by the beach is a tough job but someone has to do it. Just kidding... I bet it's hard to remember to use protection when the beautiful outside is calling you to come and play day and night. But on the other hand you get all the benefits of the sun all winter too.

      Thanks for taking a look and commenting regards Zsuzsy

    • Patricia Bedard profile image

      Patricia Bedard 

      10 years ago from Venice Beach

      I live by the beach and it's hard for me to not get too much sun. Great hub!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Ripplemaker! Start shipping some of the warmth that goes along with all that sun you have. Here in my neck of the woods (Canada) we're in for another really cold windy snow filled weekend...Thanks for your visit

      regards Zsuzsy

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Like Kenny, we have the sun all year around. haha And the sun makes me happy. Now knowing the full benefits we are getting from it, I am doubly blessed. Great hub Zsuzsy Bee :-) Sunny smiles to you!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Kristine! Thanks for taking a look.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • KristineBue profile image

      KristineBue 

      10 years ago

      Very informative post. I love the sun for it keeps me brown but indeed we have to be aware of taking good care of our skin. Nothing can beat healthy skin.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Kenny! When we're up to our armpits in snow I'll send you some Okay? Actually I live in the southern part of Ontario near Lake Erie which makes our weather not as bad as further north...

      thanks for your comment

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      10 years ago from Chennai

      We have too much sun, and I haven't seen snow in my whole life. Sigh.

      Very informative hub, Zsuzsy, as I only knew the Vitamin D benefit before. 

      I had to write that ten times at school!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      ElatedState! Hello fellow Canadian-how goes it?Eh? Just kidding I don't really say eh...Thanks for taking a look. Today was actually nice and sunny, cold but sunny. Yesterday I was worried I would need the canoe to get to the barn.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thanks Isabella for your comment.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • ElatedState profile image

      ElatedState 

      10 years ago from Edmonton

      I'm thinking I need to get a sunlamp, here in Edmonton the skies are black by 4 in the afternoon...

    • Isabella Snow profile image

      Isabella Snow 

      10 years ago

      Great hub! I did a hub on SAD and one on SAD lights awhile back, cos i get really bad SAD. Its getting dark at 1530 over here!!!!!! :(

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Anrev! Definitely the best time is early in the morning.

      thanks for your comment

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      CGull! Thanks for taking a look. It sure is so much better to be enjoying the outside. It gets a little tricky here in Canada in the winter. Mind you even that can be conquered if properly dressed and the dogs need walks whether its cold or not. regards Zsuzsy

    • anrev profile image

      anrev 

      10 years ago

      indeed sunlight is important and it is best to expose yourself to sunlight early in the morning..

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 

      10 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hub, I find some reason to go outside. I wish everyone reads it instead of just staying indoors, better to enjoy nature.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Aman! Thanks for taking a look.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      JoAnn! Nothing like rubbing it in...It rained here all day...Now it's as foggy out there as if we were in a pot of pea-soup...

      thanks for your comment

      regards Zsuzsy

    • JoAnn Edwards profile image

      JoAnn Edwards 

      10 years ago from Tennessee

      I'm in beautiful Tennessee. We are having unusally warm and sunny weather. It was 75 degrees today. I got my dose of vitamin D, outside raking leaves. JoAnn

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Compu-smart! Thanks for your comment. Yesterday and today I almost could have believed I was in the UK. It was raining and raining, by 3:30 this afternoon the fog came down just like peasoup...

      Thanks for taking a look

      regards ZSuzsy

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 

      10 years ago from London UK

      Great tips zsuzsybee! Here in the UK the chance of us getting too much sun are zero:( But when it does come round it makes here a much happier place:)

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Vickey! As I said to MrMarmalade it's not fair. It's important that you take the sun in moderation only so the obvious is to send the rest to us in the great white north...

      thanks for your comment

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      MrMarmalade! I'm not sure how much of that sun I could handle. Sun every day, missing all this great gloom, damp cold, snow, freezing rain, blowing wind...It's just not fair ship some of that sun our way...

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile imageAUTHOR

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thank You Bob for taking a look.

      regards Zsuzsy

    • VickeyK profile image

      VickeyK 

      10 years ago

      Oh, Canada! You're beautiful but I'm so glad I live further south! Excellent hub, though, because even in sunny California, people do suffer from SAD.

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 

      10 years ago from Sydney

      I have the ideal solution.

      We are at the other end of the extreme.

      Solution buy a house in Dee Why and walk on the Beach from 5.00am to 7.00Pm for four months of the year.

      Sun goes and move back home to Canada and sup all the sun until it disapears again. Back to Dee Why.

      We have day light saving in most of Australia.time and clocks are moved for from October until march.

      Have to tell you we have a state in Australia, who thinks the extra hour of sun fades the curtains. This state now has a LADY Premier and they might become modern. Who knows.

      Hope my suggestion given in jest is acceptable.

    • Bob Ewing profile image

      Bob Ewing 

      10 years ago from New Brunswick

      I knew I was attracted to the sun for some good reasons.

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