How Longer Days Will Make You Happier

How Longer Days Will Make You Happier

Posted on June 18, 2024

Summer is here, and you know what that means: longer days, more sun—oh, and a bump in happiness as well. You might have noticed a little extra pep in your step during the sunny season, but it’s not just because school’s out and we get to go on vacation. Studies have shown that our brains and bodies actually react to the sun, so let’s shine a light on some of the physical and mental benefits that come from spending a little more time outdoors in the summer.

Bone Health

There aren’t that many foods that naturally contain vitamin D, but under sunlight, your body produces it on its own! Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium, so getting enough is important when it comes to keeping bones and joints healthy.

Lower Blood Pressure

Another compound your body produces with exposure to sunlight is nitric oxide, which helps lower blood pressure. That means a lower risk of heart attacks, strokes, and heart disease—a major win for your physical health.

Sleep Quality

Light plays an important role in synchronizing your body’s internal clock. Our natural circadian rhythm is slightly longer than a 24-hour day, but soaking in some light right after you wake up will help you fall asleep when you’re supposed to. It tells your body to stop making the sleep hormone melatonin for now, while priming production to start again in about 14 hours—just in time for bedtime. No more late nights and groggy mornings!

Mood Boost

And of course, there’s serotonin, the chemical that helps stabilize your mood and regulate anxiety. Exposure to sunlight is widely thought to increase your serotonin levels, and studies have shown a decrease in mental distress during seasons with more sun time. A little sunshine will brighten your day in more ways than one.

It’s important to keep in mind that while sunlight is helpful in many ways, too much exposure can damage your vision and skin, compounding into larger, long-term issues. And while you can sync up your circadian rhythm with a sunlamp, vitamin D and nitric oxide production are triggered by UV rays—which means that the sunscreen protecting you from sunburn also prevents these benefits. Luckily, you only need 5 to 15 minutes, 2 to 3 times a week of casual sun exposure to keep your vitamin D levels up, so if you’re staying out for longer than that, make sure to wear sun protection.

Well, there you have it! Did you know that simple solar power could do so many things? And with summer in full swing, it’s easier than ever to catch a few rays, leading to physical and mental benefits and a healthier lifestyle overall. Happy sunbathing!

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