Did you know that temporary, direct skin exposure to unfiltered UVB light (one of the many types of light we receive from the sun) is necessary to activate vitamin D (D3 specifically) in your body? It also helps set your own circadian rhythms. These are the rhythms that help us regulate sleep/wake cycles.
Unfortunately, in the last 30 years, we've started to completely avoid UV light for the first time in history. From UV-filtering windows, artificial lighting, windshields, and sunglasses - we've begun to completely avoid that which our body needs to function properly.
Of course, there are good reasons to filter out some UV light (overexposure can lead to burns and activation of cancer cells down the road)...but too little exposure or too much filtering can have just as negative consequences on our health.
Think about it - your grandparents didn't have UV-filtering glasses, didn't wear sunglasses as much as kids, and didn't wear sunscreen AND they had much less skin cancer than we do now. In addition, most of us who live in the Northern hemisphere know the effects of limited sunlight - mood swings, depression, irritability, emotional instability, feelings of "being off," etc.
Before I share in more "sun-loving strategies," it's important to note that we need a well functioning brain, nervous system, and body to actually receive all the benefits sunshine and vitamin D have to offer. Many organs play a role in helping us utilize these benefits, including our kidneys, liver and gut. If the nerves to these organs are affected, then, well, you guessed it - we'll be operating at less than optimal health.
So here are some great tips and tricks to get the most from the sun and in turn our amazing bodies:
- Allow yourself 15-30min of unfiltered sunshine each day (no glasses, no sunscreen - go naked if you can)
- If you work in an office building with synthetic light, take "sun breaks" during your day - even 5 min can make a huge difference
- If you decide to use sunscreen, choose a brand that has minimal toxins. My brand of choice is Badger Zinc Oxide sunscreen.
- Avoid blue light (light from phones, computers, electronics) as often as possible
- Get your spine and nervous system checked, and if necessary, adjusted to make sure your body is working properly to receive the benefits of health lifestyle choices.
- For those of you who live in the tundra and experience long winters, it might be useful to utilize sunlight lamps as well as increase your supplemental vitamin D3. Here are some resources I recommend:
- Supplemental D3
- Sunlamps (best used in the morning)
- Tanning beds (UVB is better) - even if it's for just 3min a few times a month in the winter, this can make a huge difference in your mood
- Supplemental D3
As always my friends, keep inspiring!