Have you got a dose of #sunshine today?

Sun exposure is linked with all sorts of health benefits, from better sleep to better moods to better physiological functioning.

The biggie benefit is probably Vitamin D synthesis. When vitamin D is synthesized through our skin from sunlight is a powerful health booster because it’s production supports most metabolic functions, neuromuscular transmission, and bone mineralization.

Adequate vitamin D levels are also important to fend of disease, as inadequate vitamin D levels have been associated with everything from MS to metabolic dysfunction to auto-immune diseases.

Sun exposure is also linked with lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke (both of which go up in winter in northern climates).

Sun exposure, especially in the morning, also helps with melatonin production and better sleep. Who wouldn’t like to sleep more soundly? The precursor to melatonin, serotonin, also is boosted by sun exposure. Serotonin is the good mood neurotransmitter and low levels of serotonin are linked with depression and seasonal affective disorder.

Many doctors and scientists agree that getting some sun exposure (without blocking rays with SPF or clothing) is crucial to maintaining healthy vitamin D levels and that it outweighs the risks of skin cancer.

So what’s the right sunshine dose?

Unfortunately, that’s not an easy answer as it will be different for everyone depending on their skin type. Getting outside with exposed skin should be done every day but only as long as your skin can tolerate without burning.

Most people can be outside for at least 10-15 minutes without burning, especially in the morning or late afternoon hours, and many more can be outside for much longer.

The benefits of sun exposure may outweigh the risks with a bevy of health benefits for mind and body.

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