As all of us know, we just pushed our clocks forward to get one more splendid hour of sunshine.
It’s the official mark of spring for me. It’s when we finish up dinner and then the kids run back outside to play. When I have to shake out the rugs at the end of every day. When tennis shoes are cast off and replaced with a mound of flip-flops by the front door.
I LOVE IT!!!
Immediately after we got home from church this past Sunday…
Klara and Kenna threw off their shoes (literally, they did. I’m still looking for them..) and went outside in our front yard (a.k.a. “the sand pit”) and played to their hearts’ content! They had a blast.
Sunshine is so wonderful for us! Here are some great benefits to keep in mind!
It will make you feel better!
Sunshine has the ability to affect our moods. Lack of sunlight can contribute to depression!
Exposure to sunlight increases serotonin and melatonin, as well as regulates the circadian system.
Even if you don’t experience seasonal depression, spending time out in the sun still offers the same benefits and will help to regulate your sleep patterns and improve your overall quality of sleep. Even exposing your eyes to the light (take off those sunglasses!) will also improve melatonin levels and sleep quality.
Unscientific as it may be, sunshine just makes me feel better in general. It helps to keep my moods more level, it makes me feel more cheerful, it puts a bit of spring in my step, it even helps me to feel more alert and focused.
It will make you healthier!
You’ve probably heard that our bodies create Vitamin D from sunshine exposure. What you may not know is that most people in our society are low or deficient in Vitamin D, partly because of poor diet, but mostly because we avoid sunlight and spend much of our time indoors.
Lack of Vitamin D is linked to depression, to higher cancer rates, to lowered immunity in general, and to many other disorders and illnesses such as rickets, diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, allergies, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Opinions vary, but the general consensus seems to be that between 5-15 minutes of exposure to sunlight daily (without sunscreen) is enough to ensure that your Vitamin D levels remain optimal.
You can also obtain more Vitamin D from your diet from certain supplements, but sunshine is free for the taking and enjoyable to boot.
So try making a commitment to spend at least a brief period of time outdoors each day, soaking up some sun!
And here’s what I want to know. What are you planning on doing with that extra hour of sunlight?