Have you ever sat down and thought about how a sunny day lifts your mood just like that, while winter months are depressive and gloomy? Before science can answer, it is a common cultural belief that sunshine makes you relax and rejuvenate! But as awareness of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) has increased, people are getting more to learn about weather and mood. Thus, realizing there are many ways sunlight and mental well being stand connected.
In the era when everyone is concerned about Sun tan and Sun damage, all focused on protecting the skin with some extra SPFs. You need to understand the right benefits of the rays. Did you know that adequate exposure to the Sun’s rays can have a lot of mood-lifting benefits? And promising effects on one’s mental health! If not, continue with the article to get an appropriate idea.
Sunlight Helping With Depression
It is strange how our daily surroundings play a vital role in helping us be the best. From the secretion of the right hormones and mood boosts to helping one control triggered anxiety, nature can mitigate it all. Continuing with sunlight and mental well being, the right exposure to the Sun helps one feel focused and calm by enhancing serotonin levels. Without exposure to the rays, your serotonin levels will likely drop, making you vulnerable to higher risks of SAD and other anxious behavioral patterns.
The Sun rays move through the eyes, cueing special areas of the retina releasing serotonin. However, things become difficult when not exposed to the right quantity of rays. As per researchers, there is no exact measurement of the time, how long exposure to Sun rays will be beneficial. However, they suggest that the time period under the Sun varies from individual to individual. Based on their skin type and how direct the rays are. Usually, you are more susceptible to sunburn between 10 am and 4 pm, so try to soak in the goodness of the rays when it’s early morning before 10 am.
As per WHO, 5 to 15 minutes of exposure to sunlight for 2 to 3 days a week is enough to rejuvenate your vitamin D levels. Wearing sunscreen or covering your face and hands will not help the boost. Sunlight has to come in direct contact with your arms, face, and hands for that ultimate effect.
Sunlight And Mental Well Being – A Study On The Operating Room Nurses
In recent years, mental health problems have increased, leading to serious social issues among the youth and the aged. Some pre-existing studies indicate how links between sunlight and mental well being are the ultimate reason. These studies have made it a point that the population lacks the right exposure to the Sun and hence finds it problematic to deal with imbalanced mental health.
Researchers chose operating room nurses (ORNs) for the ultimate results. These respondents had to work long hours in operating rooms with limited exposure to the Sun’s rays. The aim was to continue with a detailed study, finding the right evidence to establish the correctness of the prior case studies.
787 ORNs (operating room nurses) were selected, interviewed, and analyzed. They are all evaluated based on mental health, duration of sunlight exposure, chronic diseases, and sociodemographic and work-related variables. A Kesser 10 scale was used to evaluate the mental health-related conditions of the participants. The daily duration of their exposure to the right amount of sunlight was assessed based on self-reports.
As per the study, there is a positive association between sunlight and mental well being. The research revealed how appropriate sun exposure benefits one’s mental health. In the research, 314 respondents out of the 787 subjects indicated poor psychological conditions. These ORNs were at greater risk of developing mental disorders and chronic diseases.
It’s a never-ending cycle where people with depression develop chronic illnesses. Their physical conditions, in the long, lead to more anxious behavior over time. And the cycle just goes on!
The study revealed that with an increase in the duration of sunlight, there was a notable enhancement in the respondents’ mental health. And researchers suggest that the rise in Vitamin D levels is duly responsible for the same. Secondly, the findings reveal how a rise in serum cortisol levels can positively affect mental health scores. As reported here! Also, the team highlighted that a decrease in physical activities usually lessens the exposure levels, causing inflammation, neuroplasticity, and oxidative stress. However, one can eliminate these with positive self-awareness and exposure to adequate sunlight.
The study shows ORNs exhibited poorer mental health, irregular sleep, and vulnerability towards chronic illness. However, long periods of sunlight exposure made them feel better, with a positive change in health. Therefore, the team concludes it is important to develop adequate health measures and relevant policies that will protect the mental health of the ORNs. Also, the nurses shall protect their health over everything else and act according to a necessary routine.
People nowadays are quite interested in protecting themselves from the Sun’s rays. But in the process, they forget that this is the ultimate energy source, bringing life to everything else. So make sure to rejuvenate yourself in the goodness and enjoy the best of your mental health along with physical well-being.