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The Benefits of Sunshine

Updated on March 17, 2013

Keeping Safe in the Sun

Staying out when the sun is at its strongest has risks connected. We need to be careful not to get sunburned as it damages skin and may lead to skin cancer. The heat can make us dehydrated and we could be prone to heat stroke.

If we are sensible and keep in the shade for long periods of time, use a high factor sun screen and drink plenty of water, we’re less likely to become unwell. But keeping out of the sunshine and indeed sunlight altogether means we’re not getting all the benefits it poses.

What are the Health Benefits?

We can gain some health benefits from the sun if we spend short periods of time out in it. In the winter months (in the northern hemisphere) the sun is not as strong so we can spend a little more time out.

Great Britain is in the Northern Hemisphere

Sunshine makes Vitamin D

The ultra violet rays (UVB) from the sun helps the body to produce vitamin D. If we spend around 10–15 minutes out in the midday sun (be careful not to get burned) it can be enough. Those with lighter skin tones absorb and produce quicker than darker skin tones, so lighter skin tones need less time out.

The body can store vitamin D for several months, which is good if we see little light during the winter months.

Why is Vitamin D Good for Us?

Vitamin D has many benefits including building strong bones. It can also help our immune system and help against the development of some cancers.

It can be difficult to find vitamin D in food, which is why a vitamin supplement is good if we don’t get out in the sunshine.

Sunshine Helps the Scalp

The ultra violet rays can help to clear the symptoms of psoriasis. The sunlight slows down the speed of cell division and improves the condition. Those who suffer with psoriasis are sometimes offered ultra violet light treatment, which works in the same way.

If you do go out in the sun, put sunscreen on the scalp as it is sensitive to the sun.

The Sun can kill Bacteria

Ultraviolet rays can act as an antiseptic on the skin. This means it can kill viruses and fungi. It is great for athlete’s foot and small doses of sunshine can help the symptoms of acne and eczema.

Sunshine can help the immune system and help fight viruses on the inside too.

Sunny Days make us Happier

Our mood can be lifted on a sunny day. While grey clouds and rain make us tired and miserable, the sun can make us feel more alert and uplifted. Too much time in the heat may however want you to take a siesta, but the endorphins and serotonin we produce make us a lot less stressed.

Being less stressed can also help with the other conditions mentioned, such as acne or eczema flare ups.

Sunlight helps our Sleep Pattern

The sunshine can help our circadian rhythm, which means we can fall asleep easier at night and wake early in the morning.

If we can get enough sunshine in the morning, by evening the melatonin levels in our bodies will be released and aid sleep.

Wear a Hat
Wear a Hat
Wear Sun Cream
Wear Sun Cream


SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder and is a condition which can cause symptoms of depression. It is triggered by lack of natural sunlight and sufferers tend to feel worse during the winter months.

Otherwise known as the Winter Blues, SAD is a recognised disorder and can be diagnosed.

The symptoms of SAD include:

  • Depression
  • Disruption of Sleep
  • Changes in Appetite
  • Mood Swings

Those with the condition can be treated with a light box. This acts as a natural source of light when it is a dark and cloudy day.

The sunshine in the summer eases the symptoms of SAD sufferers to a great extent.

Always be careful in the sun. A sunscreen of factor 30 means we can stay out 30 times longer before getting burned. Use a cream with UV protection to help against the harmful rays of the sun when exposed for a long time.

Wear a sunhat which acts as a shade and drink plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Do You Always Wear Sun Screen in the Sun?

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    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi leah, yes I also prefer long summer days. In the UK the days are getting shorter now, but I'm hopeful for more sunshine to come in September!

      krsharp05 - I've just returned from my honeymoon in Sorrento and it was hot! The factor 50 had to be applied regularly as I'm fair but my scalp seems so much better (I have dermatitis) and my husband's skin is really clear as he has adult acne! We also felt great for being out in the glorious sun too!

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 5 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      Great information Emma, I am absolutely guilty of burning myself to a crisp every summer. I will say that I had no idea that sunshine was beneficial for psoriasis and bacterial infections. I love having the sun on my face so I can relate to the winter blues. Voted useful and up! -K

    • leahlefler profile image

      Leah Lefler 5 years ago from Western New York

      I am always so much brighter in the summertime - I love the long days full of sunshine. We have long, dark winters in Western NY, and I always feel so low by the time spring arrives. There is nothing better than a bright, sunny day!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi greatstuff, yes the elderly can be prone to depression, especially if they have a form of dementia. I know I like my house to be light and airy, so it's something important for most people.

      Hi heidi, yes 10-15 minutes without a sunscreen will help our bodies to produce vitamin D - as long as we don't get burned! We have been lucky to have a week of warm weather (it's hit and miss in the UK) and I've spent every opportunity outside.

      Thank you both for your input

    • heidimedina profile image

      Heidi Dawn Medina 5 years ago from Denver, CO

      Great advice on reasons for needing sunshine or a supplement for the Vitamin D. My dermatologist said many people, even those who live in sunny areas, are not getting enough Vitamin D anymore because of sunscreen use. Studies are now saying we need at least 15 minutes a day out in the sun without sunscreen to get enough Vitamin D or to take a supplement of at least 2,000 u.i. once a day.

    • greatstuff profile image

      Mazlan 5 years ago from Malaysia

      Light therapy is use to treat people with depression especially the elderly. That is why we should design our house with lots of window to bring in natural lights and going for a walk even on a cloudy day. Voted up and useful.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      As long as we're sensible in the sun there can be a lot to enjoy. Some people can't stand too much heat but the brightness certainly lifts mood.

      Thanks rfmoran for your comment.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Although I have strict orders from my dermatologist to lather up with sun block and wear a hat, I love the sunshine. It definitely impacts one's mood. Although Seattle is a lovely city I could never live there with all the clouds.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Hi spartucusjones, being pale I am quite good at applying the sunscreen. But living in the UK means when the sun's out, we have to grab it with both hands!

      I certainly feel better when it's a nice day but it's important to be careful. Thanks for your comment :)

    • spartucusjones profile image

      CJ Baker 5 years ago from Parts Unknown

      Very informative hub! You explain well the many benefits which come from the sun. Of course there is a need to be reasonable, and unfortunately I am bad when it comes to wearing sunscreen. Hopefully your hub will serve as a reminder.

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Kisby 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      Thanks dinkan53 for your comments and rating it up!

    • dinkan53 profile image

      dinkan53 5 years ago from India

      You are right, if it's sunny, you feel so happy. Everybody needs sunshine in their life because it helps people to be more cheerful. Thanks for sharing the benefits of sunshine. Rated up and interesting.