Here in Australia we have been drilled in the “Slip, Slop, Slap” which means slip on a shirt, slop on some 30+ sunscreen and slap on a hat to help prevent skin cancer. However there are benefits to sunbathing without the slip slop slap. I’m not saying spend all day without these but even just 15 – 30 minutes in the sun a few times a week without sunblock can have fantastic health benefits – the reason why no sunblock is that it stops your body from making vitamin D which you need for, bone and muscle health.
The time you spend in the sun without sunblock ideally shouldn’t be between 11am and 3pm or when the UV index is over 3, which is when the sun is at it’s strongest and you are FAR more likely to get burnt 🙁 To check the UV index of where you are there is an app for your phone called SunSmart or you can go to www.myuv.com.au.
Even the Cancer Council says…
Sun exposure is the cause of around 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers and 95% of melanomas in Australia. However, exposure to small amounts of sunlight is also essential to good health. A balance is required between avoiding an increase in the risk of skin cancer by excessive sun exposure and achieving enough exposure to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.
Benefits to Sunbathing
Sunbathe and catch some rays without sunblock for a short time and get the following benefits,
1. Sunlight lowers cholesterol
According to a paper by D.S. GRIMES, E. HINDLE and T. DYER1 into Sunlight, cholesterol and coronary heart disease, sunlight deficiency could increase blood cholesterol by allowing the body to produce cholesterol rather than vitamin D as would occur with greater amounts of time in the sun.
2. Sunlight increases Libido
Sunlight also lifts men’s libidos, according to an Austrian study of 2,299 men published in 2010. I am guessing that it would work in the same way for women…. (Hopefully)
3. Sun exposure improves bone health
In a Telegraph article Yinka Ebo, senior health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said “We all need some sunshine to make vitamin D for healthy bones.”
4. Sun exposure improves brain function
In a study led by neuroscientist David Llewellyn of the University of Cambridge, vitamin D levels in more than 1,700 men and women from England, aged 65 or older 2 were assessed and found that cognitive function (which is reasoning, memory, attention and language all leading to gaining information) reduced the lower the persons vitamin D levels were.
5. Sun exposure eases mild depression
Lack of sunlight can cause a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression common in winter and with people who work long hours in office buildings and hardly get outside. Moderate sun exposure increases levels of natural antidepressants in the brain that can actually help relieve this and other forms of mild depression. This is because on sunny days the brain produces more serotonin, a mood-lifting chemical, than on darker days.
6. Sun exposure improves sleep quality
When sunlight hits our eyes, a message is sent to the pineal gland in the brain and production of melatonin (a hormone that makes us drowsy and helps us sleep) is shut down until the sun goes down again. Your body gets a clear signal that it’s no longer night and this helps to maintain a normal circadian rhythm. When it gets dark outside, your body gets the signal again and you feel tired and drowsy at bedtime.
7. Sun exposure lessens Alzheimer’s symptoms
Clinical research has shown Alzheimer’s patients who are exposed to the sun throughout the day from 9 am to 6 pm followed by darkness at night score better on mental exams and improve some aspects of the disease. For example, one study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that Alzheimer’s patients exposed to bright light had fewer symptoms of depression, nighttime wakefulness, agitation and lost less function than those exposed to dim daytime lighting. The researchers attributed these improvements to more regular circadian rhythms.
8. Sun exposure boosts growth in children
This benefit is especially true for infants. Studies reveal the amount of sun exposure in the first few months of a baby’s life has an effect on how tall the child grows. Many cultures around the world recognize this fact and expose children to mild sun to boost growth and height.
9. Sun exposure enhances the immune system
Sun exposure can help suppress an overactive immune system and is used to treat autoimmune diseases like psoriasis. White blood cells also increase with sun exposure they also play a key role in fighting diseases and defending the body against infection.
10. Sun exposure reduces risk of certain cancers
Vitamin D deficiency increases your risk of many cancers. According to one large-scale study, optimal Vitamin D levels can slash your risk of cancer by as much as 60 percent. Keeping your levels optimized can help prevent at least 16 different types of cancer, including pancreatic, lung, ovarian, prostate and skin cancers.
11. Sunlight can improve your teeth
An article by Dr Mercola discusses studies into children with vitamin D deficiences and Dr. May Mellanby showed vitamin D supplementation decreased cavities in the 1920’s
12. Sunlight can stop you smelling!
Can be used to sterilize your armpits and eliminate the cause of most body odor!
WOW who knew there were so many benefits to getting out in the sun, just remember not to go crazy and get burnt skin cancer is still the number one cancer… that’s it I’m off to the beach 🙂