Being outside is a great way of lifting mood and sunshine gives us the benefits of Vitamin D too. Vitamin D keeps the bones, muscles and teeth health as well boosting the immune system.
In the UK one in five people have a Vitamin D deficiency, symptoms being tiredness, weakness, muscle pain and not feeling mentally alert. Getting outdoors for just 20 minutes a day can bring health benefits. Vitamin D is absorbed through the skin; the sun is weaker in winter so a Vitamin D supplement might be beneficial.
Sunshine gives us full spectrum light; it enters the brain through the retina (eyes). Lux is the term used for measuring light (a term that you may see when purchasing light bulbs). Indoor lighting gives 100 units (lux) per hour but even on a cloudy day outdoors, you can receive up to 10,000 lux. In the midday sun, this rises to 100,000 lux.
Some people may become depressed in winter and discover they have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a result of a too much melatonin (hormone that makes you feel sleepy) and too little serotonin (affecting mood and appetite). There are often disturbances to the internal body clock – sunlight affects important functions such as the time you wake up, caused by lower light levels.
Treatments available for SAD include light boxes, talking therapy – offering the opportunity to discuss emotional issues and learn self-help techniques or medication.
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