As people spend more time indoors staring at computer and television screens, scientists are starting to appreciate how exposure to sunlight affects various body systems.
Today, the average person spends 90 per cent of their life indoors. That means we are getting less light during the day and being exposed to more light at night. This pattern results in disrupted sleep and circadian rhythms – 24-hour fluctuations in our biology and behaviour – with consequences for our physical and mental health. Meanwhile, getting too little sunlight is contributing to vitamin D deficiency and may be undermining our immune and cardiovascular systems as well.
Decreased sun exposure has been associated with a drop in your serotonin levels, which can lead to major depression with seasonal pattern.
Benefits of sunlight
- The vitamin D made thanks to the sun plays a big role in bone health. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to rickets in children and bone-wasting diseases like osteoporosis and osteomalacia.
- Although excess sunlight can contribute to skin cancers, a moderate amount of sunlight actually has preventive benefits when it comes to cancer.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source, sun exposure might help treat several skin conditions, too. Doctors have recommended UV radiation exposure to treat skin diseases like psoriasis, eczema, jaundice and acne.
- Research studies have revealed preliminary links between sunlight as a potential treatment for several other conditions. These include rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease and thyroiditis.