Regular sun exposure is often talked about as a net positive to overall health. Here are a couple of ways sunlight creates positive responses from your body.
Improved Sleep: Your body creates a hormone, melatonin, naturally to help with sleep. The trigger for when your body begins producing melatonin is based on a lack of sunlight. This chemical interaction regulates and influences our sleep cycles.
Reduced Stress: Melatonin regulation from regular sun exposure is also known to help reduce stress. Additionally, outdoor activities tend to be more active which can produce endorphins which will aid in stress reduction.
Bone Health: We know that bone health is closely related to calcium availability, but did you know that the internal process of absorbing calcium relies on the vitamin D naturally created in response to sunlight? This is one of the main health benefits of a routine minimum 15 minute exposure to sunlight.
Immune System: Our immune system is composed of immune cells which contain vitamin D receptors. Absorption of vitamin D has been linked with a reduction in autoimmune responses and improved immune function.
Combating Depression: Sunshine can boost production of serotonin, a chemical which is responsible for uplifting mood, increasing calm, and improving focus. You may also have heard the term "Seasonal Affective Disorder", this refers to a natural tendency toward mood changes as a result of reduced daylight hours during fall and winter. Many people go so far as to purchase special lamps to stave off the effects of reduced sun exposure during these months.
Longevity: There has been some research which suggests that time in the sun is linked with a longer lifespan. In some instances 6 months to 2 years more.