You’re not imagining it. That sunny disposition that peeks out when the weather is nice really is caused by the sun. Yet, sunshine doesn’t only make you happy, it makes you healthy. Lack of sunlight can be linked to fertility problems, cancer, overall poor health and even depression. Sunshine is a wonder drug.
While this research would imply that we should all spend our days lounging on the beach, we know that isn’t possible. We have errands to run, kids to care for and work to do. The practical option–more windows. If you can’t spend your time sunning at the shore, greater exposure to sunlight in your own home is a smart way to improve your mood.
Now, we’re not saying you should ditch your yoga, ice cream or whatever else makes you happy, but studies have shown that sunlight has some of the same effects as prescription antidepressants. Serotonin is a naturally produced hormone that affects mood; higher levels make us happier. When the body absorbs sunlight, serotonin increases. Pulling back the curtain and opening your windows really is good for you! Furthermore, the sun provides vitamin D. People with vitamin D deficiency have a higher risk for developing prostate, colon and even skin cancer.
The benefits of having more windows in your home and getting more sun aren’t just limited to the summer. Research shows that if individuals get more sun exposure during sunny summer days, it can help fight off depression in the darker winter months. These same results can’t be replicated by any form of light. Limited spectrum indoor lighting from incandescent and florescent bulbs can cause fatigue and reduced immune function. Who hasn’t felt like they need to get away from sterile indoor light to enjoy the sunshine? It’s a healthy idea.