After a week full of rain and clouds, it’s good to see the sun again. Right now, my seedlings are sitting outside, hardening enough to being planted outside, and I’m planning out what I’ll be doing out there after making this blog entry.
|We got lots of sun on that trip to Lake Superior. Bug bites,
too. Also blisters. …the sun and fun made up for it.
It’ll probably involve gardening tools, dirt and weeds.
Anyway, this time of year always gets me thinking about sunlight. In northern climates, especially when there’s extreme cold involved, people tend to escape into the warmth of their homes. I know it’s partially self preservation, but it’s also the main reason why so many people suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and low vitamin D levels. Of course, shorter days have something to do with it, too.
One of the many ways vitamin D works in the body is to assist in calcium absorption. Anyone who remembers basic biology knows that calcium is one of the necessary elements needed for building strong teeth and bones. What’s a little less commonly known is the role it plays in how the brain works.
Studies, like this one from Norway, showed that increased vitamin D levels may contribute to better mental performance. Most studies have been done on adults or senior citizens, but it would follow that having good levels of vitamin D would help younger people who may be struggling in school.
Our bodies generate vitamin D when we’re exposed to sunshine, which is pretty neat. Depending on your skin color, you may not need a whole lot of time in the sun to generate enough to help you function better. Since lighter skin has less melatonin at the surface, it needs less time than darker skin. I’ve seen estimates from 5 minutes to 20 minutes or more of necessary exposure, so it’d be up to the individual to determine how much they’d like.
Of course, if you have a heightened risk of skin cancer or a sensitivity to sunlight, it would probably be best to get what you need from food and supplements.
On another level, sunlight may make it easier for dyslexics or people prone to migraines to function, too. This has less to do with our body’s metabolic processes, and more to do with a higher sensitivity to flicker rates. To save a little space here, check out my article about fluorescent lighting on HubPages.
The human eye is naturally in tune with the frequency of full spectrum natural light, which is why it’s usually easier to operate under than artificial light sources.
That’s a big reason why I always have my curtains drawn back on sunny days, much to my darkness loving husband’s irritation. My mind just seems to operate better with natural light than anything else. There’s also the lower energy bills to think of, as well.
I guess my point is, if you have the opportunity to get out and play in the sun, do so! You’ll feel better, and your brain might just work better, too. Plants and lizards aren’t the only ones who get energy from our star, after all.
Now, off to soak up some sun and see how much dirt I can get under my nails.