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Friday, May 07, 2021

From improving mood to sleep: Here’s why natural sunlight is crucial for you

"Tweak your day, be mindful to get more natural light (not just direct sunlight), like training outside instead of in the gym," said Dr Dixa Bhavsar on the benefits on sunlight beyond vitamin D

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
April 24, 2021 10:30:20 pm
vitamin D, Vitamin D and coronavirus, indianexpress.com, indianexpress, vitamin D benefits, vitamin D sources of food, sunlight benefits, lockdown, coronaviruys, covid-19, pandemic,Being outdoors has shown to improve sleep quality. (Source: Kareena Kapoor Khan/Instagram)

Amid pandemic concerns, more and more healthcare practitioners have suggested how sun exposure for even half-hour daily can help up one’s vitamin D levels in the body which is considered essential for bone and muscle health. But did you know that sun is not just a source of vitamin D? It actually has several other benefits for one’s health.

Taking to Instagram, ayurvedic practitioner Dr Dixa Bhavsar suggested how sunlight in the morning, right after sunrise till about 8 am and at the time of sunset, can help.

Dr Bhavsar mentioned how vitamin D is “not actually a vitamin”.

“It’s an immune and energy-boosting hormone which has a profound effect on our health,” she said.

Here’s what to know about the sun’s rays and our health

According to Dr Bhavsar, different light wavelengths (colours) are present at different times of the day and impact us differently. Every wavelength has a different therapeutic benefit.

*UVA exposure, for example, increases nitric oxide which is a vasodilator, which improves blood flow, improves oxygenation, lowering respiratory rate, lowering blood glucose levels.

*The red visible spectrum which is always present during the day touches on mitochondria function which increases energy and overall health.

*From natural light, we also make the neurotransmitters serotonin, melatonin and dopamine which are critical for mental health including reducing anxiety, depression etc.

*Blue light stimulates us and keeps us awake. It also helps with seasonal affective disorder and depression due to its hormone-producing capabilities.

*Being outdoors has shown to improve our sleep quality and fine-tune our daily circadian rhythm too, as we make melatonin (our sleep hormone) from daylight, then excrete melatonin after an absence of blue light for 2+ hours (which is why blue blocking glasses are so important after sunset).

“I’m not advising to recklessly go overboard with direct sunlight and start burning. Tweak your day, be mindful to get more natural light (not just direct sunlight), like training outside instead of in the gym,” she said.

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