We never miss a chance to enjoy the glimmers of sun we get here in the Pacific Northwest. It’s good for the soul. Many experts now believe that the sun's rays provide more benefit than harm (provided you get the right dose.) Science proves there are payoffs to a small daily dose of sunlight, including:
Daylight helps turn off your body's production of melatonin, a hormone produced at night that makes you tired. This can help you maintain a normal circadian rhythm, so you're more likely to feel drowsy at bedtime when it's dark out. Going outside for 15 minutes at the same time each morning gives your body a clear signal that it's no longer night.
A type of depression called seasonal affective disorder affects some people during darker months when they don't get enough sunlight. Experts now agree that sunlight has widespread mood-elevating effects, possibly because the "happy hormone" (serotonin) increases when nights are shorter and days are longer.
Elderly Alzheimer's patients exposed to bright lighting during the day, often get better scores on a mental exams, have fewer symptoms of depression, and lose less brain function than those exposed to dim daytime lighting.
Sunlight contributes to bone health in older adults. It is well known that vitamin D stimulates the absorption of bone-strengthening calcium. Research shows a direct correlation between both bone density and blood levels of vitamin D3. Higher blood levels of vitamin D3 are associated with a lower rater of fractures of virtually all types; lower blood levels of vitamin D3 are associated with a higher rate of fractures of all types.
The evidence is clear: the sun is good for you and you should feel free to enjoy it. Just be sure to use caution, stay hydrated, and use a good sunscreen!