An integral part of our health that is now finally getting the focus it deserves. Vitamin D is a fantastic way to get healthy in so many ways. And now there have been suggestions that sunlight could protect us from coronavirus. Vitamin D is one of the simplest, yet most healthy things that we can have in our lives.
But now with most of us spending up to 90% of our lives indoors and burning the midnight oil on our phones and screens, we are disrupting our circadian rhythms that impact our sleep cycles and greatly increase our risk of illness. So, what does sunlight actually do for us and how can we incorporate more light into our lives so that our health improves?
The Health Benefits of Natural Light
Natural sunlight helps the skin to absorb Vitamin D. This nutrient is known as the sunshine vitamin and it is vital for so many aspects of your life. It can prevent bone loss, reduce the risk of weight gain, heart disease, and even some cancers.
In addition, Vitamin D has been shown to help people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). And perhaps more telling in the modern world, the more time you spend in natural light, the less time you will spend under fluorescent bulbs. Increased exposure to fluorescent light can increase our stress response.
How Can We Get More Light Into Our Lives?
The first thing anybody can do is go outside to get more sunlight. Having up to 3 minutes of sunlight at midday is a great way to get enough Vitamin D for your blood levels. You can take a Vitamin D supplement if you are not exposed to natural light, but the better approach would be to purchase a special light. Sometimes known as a SAD light, it is a special light box designed for light therapy and has been shown to reset your circadian rhythm.
It’s also possible to use light therapy in other ways. For example, light therapy can incorporate LED light systems, and you can even get an LED light for teeth whitening purposes with special teeth whitening kits. LED lights are also being used for skin care treatment. While it was originally developed by NASA for growing plants on shuttle missions, it was discovered to be beneficial for treating wounds. Now LED light therapy is being used to treat acne and help regenerate the skin.
There are also benefits being touted by infrared lights. Infrared saunas are becoming more popular these days as the red light creates heat. They have a significant amount of health benefits in comparison to a regular sauna, as they are better for people who cannot tolerate conventional saunas. There have been studies on the efficacy of infrared saunas in the treatment of chronic health problems, such as congestive heart failure and type 2 diabetes. There was some evidence to benefit this, but there needs to be more studies.
Simply put, light in its various forms, from sunlight to LED lights and infrared lights, are making us healthier.