Here comes the sun

tree-3189339_640We’ve been blessed with a beautiful weather so far. Plenty of sunny days and warm temperature. I don’t know you, but I absolutely love it! It makes me feel full of energy, generally happier and I sleep like a baby.

I’ve always liked the long days of summer by opposition to the much shorter ones of winter, but I’ve never actually looked into why I felt so good.

There are 5 main reasons why the sunny days make you feel so good:

  1. Increased release of serotonin

Being exposed to sunlight increases the release of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a hormone that regulates both mood and sleep. Basically, as your body is flooded with serotonin, you feel happier and calmer. A lot of us feel the opposite effect of this in winter, when shorter days and less sunlight can cause low mood and – in certain cases – SAD (seasonal affective disorder).

  1. Promotes a good night sleep

As mentioned above, exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning increases the level of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin, which regulates the body’s biological clock.

So, it turns out that getting out in the sun in the morning can help you have that good night’s sleep 12 hours or so later. Melatonin production is stimulated by darkness so make sure that you have blinds or blackout curtains on the windows of your bedroom to make the most of the earlier sunlight.

  1. Boost the production of vitamin D

Sunlight helps our skin produce vitamin D, which is important for bones, blood cells and the immune system. It also helps fight depression.

5-15 minutes of sun exposure each day is enough to feel these benefits.

  1. Beneficial effects of warmth

Not everybody agrees with this one – and I know a few people who don’t like the warmth of summer – but a certain level of warmth helps us feel more energised and active. By contrast, a cooler night helps us relax and sleep better

 

So how can we make the most of the sunny days?

 

Ideally, you’d like to get some sun on your face and your skin first thing in the morning. It will send the signal to your body and mind that the day has started and it will help you wake up. So, if you can, go for a walk or step outside in your garden. If that isn’t possible for you, just stepping out on a balcony or opening the window will have the same effect.

During your day, try and spend some time outside – and don’t forget your sunscreen if you are out for more than 5-15 minutes. The best time to get plenty of light is between 12.00-2.00pm.

At night, make sure that your bedroom is plunged in darkness when you close your blinds or curtains to ease your body into night with the production of relaxing melatonin.

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