Spring has officially sprung – or at least, that’s what every Albertan who dreads another spring snowstorm is hoping.
What gets me most excited about this time of year is the increasing daylight hours in the morning and the evening. Getting more light exposure helps with my productivity, creativity, and overall feeling of wellbeing.
Over the last few months, I’ve been learning of the health benefits of sunshine, and it amazes me how so many people live their lives in fear of the sun, slathering on toxic chemicals to ward off its rays or staying indoors completely.
I understand the reasoning behind this, and I too fell prey to the fear for many years.
As a self-professed Fitzpatrick Skin Type II, my skin is incredibly prone to burning and it takes me much more effort to obtain a bronzed glowing tan than many of my friends and family.
With this in mind, I am more strategic about my sun exposure, but I don’t avoid it.
Letting your skin burn is never a good idea and so after I’ve had my fill of sunshine for the day I always put on some protective clothing, a sun hat, or a mineral-based SPF (without nasty chemicals I can’t pronounce) to prevent a burn.
I am also careful about the time of day at which I am out in the sun, limiting my exposure at midday when the sun is strongest.
Despite some risk posed for skin damage in those susceptible to developing cancerous changes, with moderation, the sun is truly nature’s best medicine. Our ancestors knew it, and we’re waking up to it. They call vitamin D the sunshine vitamin for a reason.
From my research, I have found that optimal vitamin D levels are incredibly hard to obtain through diet alone, and the sun is the most bio-available source of the vitamin that we’ve got.
While vitamin D supplementation is touted by some in the medical profession as safe, others warn that the supplement – a steroid by all definitions – can interfere with vitamin A levels in our body and other biological mechanisms.
In addition to obtaining the all-important sunshine vitamin, some health practitioners believe exposing our bodies to morning, midday, and evening sunshine is crucial to our overall health and hormones.
In my opinion, the onset of artificial light sources (coming from our screens) in our homes has wreaked havoc on our circadian rhythms, hormones, and mental health in the last few decades. A possible solution to this growing concern is to let a little more sunshine into our lives.
It goes without saying that I am not a medical professional, so please consult your own intuition and health-care team to determine what is right for you.