Here's Why You Should Be Getting Sunlight Even During Lockdown

Here’s Why You Should Be Getting Sunlight Even During Lockdown

Got a pocketful of sunshine?

The sun has always been a symbol of strength, energy, and all-around positive vibes. There’s something about basking in the sun (for a moderate duration, of course) that boosts one’s spirits. However, since most of us are required to stay at home nowadays, getting enough sunlight is not as easy to do, compared to when we could go out whenever we wanted! 

Nonetheless, it’s still important to get some sunlight whenever we can. And while it might not be a cure for coronavirus, it could work wonders for the mind and body! That said, here are six reasons why you should let the sunshine in.

1. It keeps your bones strong


Perhaps the most commonly known benefit of sunlight is vitamin D. Otherwise known as the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ this hormone promotes bone growth and formation through calcium absorption. While vitamin D is already in our bodies, we need sunlight to activate and boost it! 

In fact, according to the World Health Organization, we need around 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight on our arms, hands, and face, at least twice to thrice a week. This would then be enough to reap some much-needed vitamin D benefits.

2. It improves your mood


While we’re not saying that sunlight cures and/or prevents depression and other mental illness, it does help lift one’s mood. You see, sunlight increases levels of serotonin: a chemical in our bodies that promotes feelings of happiness and wellbeing

Also, going outdoors, even for just a short time, can help minimise cabin fever. As we all know, staying at home almost 24/7 (save for the occasional errand run) is enough to make anyone feel trapped. I suppose this is more accurate for extroverts, who get their energy from social interactions! So, while you definitely can’t go out-out and meet up with friends, then sunlight (and maybe birds chirping, too) is the next best thing.

But, of course, it’s best to get that sunlight early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when it’s not too hot. Because as most of us tropical folks know, the sweltering heat (paired with humidity) is enough to make anyone cranky! 

Also read: Quarantine Life Crisis: 6 Emotional Stages of Social Distancing

3. It helps you stay fit!

Just to get this out of the way: we’re not saying that sunlight alone is enough to burn off calories, okay? However, it does aid weight loss (or maintenance) in a way that it helps control your appetite

Here’s the quick science behind it: your hunger and appetite are controlled by a part of your brain called the hypothalamus. This works alongside serotonin to ‘tell’ your body that you’re already full, as soon as you’ve reached your needed calorie intake! As mentioned in the previous point, a lack of sunlight affects serotonin levels, which also affects the hypothalamus. This then could cause overeating, as your body won’t get the memo from your brain that it has already eaten enough! 

Speaking of fitness, try to exercise outdoors as much as possible. Whether it’s jogging around your yard or doing morning yoga in your balcony, outdoor workouts are always a welcome change from our mostly dormant lifestyle nowadays. And then there are the endorphins released every time we exercise! Have you ever heard of anyone being in a bad mood after a workout? I think not. 

Also read: Home Workouts: Exercises You Can Do Using House Items As Equipment!

4. It lowers blood pressure

No matter how young and healthy you think you are, it helps to keep track of your blood pressure every now and then. Simply put: higher blood pressure means higher risk of health problems in the future! Yikes, I know. 

Studies show that moderate exposure of your skin to sunlight can significantly lower your blood pressure levels. This then cuts the risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart attack, especially when you’re older! 

5. It leads to better zzz’s!

Aside from your alarm clock, the sunlight from your window is another thing that wakes you up in the morning, right? Well, guess what — it also helps you sleep better at night! 

In fact, several studies show that a lack of direct sunlight during the day affects the timing, duration, and quality of your sleep. Also, it’s important to get direct sunlight exposure early in the morning before 10am, when the UV rays are still not as harsh. This helps keep our body clock in check! 

But what if it’s cloudy outside, you ask? This should be fine, since there’s still some sunlight that would signal your circadian rhythm clearly! Just don’t push it if it’s already raining outside, obviously. 

6. It boosts productivity


Whether you’re working from home, attending online classes, or simply focusing on hobbies, it’s hard to deny that quarantine can drastically affect productivity. Thankfully, adequate sunlight can help you achieve stress-free productivity! That said, let’s go back to my previous points on mental wellbeing and proper sleep. 

Since sunlight helps increase your serotonin, and serotonin makes you feel happy, then this could minimise your stress levels as well. And naturally, a better mood means a better state of mind to get things done. Whereas a good night’s sleep is important for proper brain function. Ever noticed how absentminded you get when you don’t get enough sleep? Well, let’s try to avoid that, shall we? 

So, if you find yourself feeling the opposite of alive, alert, and enthusiastic, perhaps it’s time to bask in the rays of Mr. Golden Sun! 

Also read: 7 Self-Care Tips to Protect Your Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Of course, it goes without saying that it’s important to take note of which hours are safe to get some sunlight. Best to do so either before 10am or after 3pm to avoid those harsh UV rays! 

And no matter the time, always make sure to wear sunscreen and stay hydrated — especially for those living in tropical countries! For sunscreen, opt for a non-sticky formula with at least SPF 30. Yes, even if you’re just getting sunlight by sitting near your windows. (Proper skincare is still important even during quarantine, you guys!). 

So, if you could have your way, what would be your most ideal method of catching some sunlight? Is it sunbathing by the pool or beach? Enjoying iced coffee on your balcony? Reading a book while on a hammock? Playing your favourite sport? Whichever it is, we’d love to hear all about it! 

About Author

Marcy Miniano
Marcy Miniano

A fast-talking caffeine-dependent wordsmith, Marcy has never been one to shy away from sharing a good story or two. If she’s not in a quiet coffee shop somewhere, she enjoys spending afternoons in a museum or art gallery — whether it’s around Metro Manila or a foreign city she’s visiting. She wishes to retire in a winter village someday, so she can fulfil her lifelong dream of wearing turtlenecks all year round and owning a pet penguin.


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