Sunlight or sunshine always denotes happiness and joy. It is because most of us associate light with the good, happy and beautiful. Sunlight also brightens our day as compared to what darkness or lack of sunlight brings to us.
We have believed that these positive thoughts associated with sunshine are only based on our perceptions, but this is not so because Science now has proven that there are scientific evidences that connect sunlight to various beneficial effects.
The following have been proven as the beneficial effects of sunlight in our lives.
1. A condition termed Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a very appropriate term for the condition, has been found in persons who were not exposed to sunlight. The condition is characterized by a general sense of melancholia, depressions, bouts of mood swings, and an increased desire for food and sleep.
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This is because the lack of sunlight lowers serotonin which is the hormone that is usually elevated when a person is happy. Serotonin interacts with other hormones like melatonin to balance a person’s condition.
People who have SAD were greatly cured of the condition after constant exposure to sunlight. That is why when it is winter and dark, we oftentimes call it a gloomy weather, because we feel “low”, due to decreased serotonin levels.
It has been proven that even artificial light could also cure the condition.
2. Vitamin D, which is essential for the skin, bones and hair growth, is derived from the sun. Without the sun the production of vitamin D would not take place because of the active role of sunlight in this process.
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3. Sunlight is also utilized as treatment for physiologic jaundice. This is a condition that occurs commonly in newborn infants in which there is a yellow discoloration of the sclera of the eyes and the skin due to bilirubin elevation. Bilirubin is an end product of Red Blood Cells (RBCs) degradation.
The infant is usually exposed to sunlight for several minutes during the early morning when the sun’s rays are still mild, because if this is left untreated, it could manifest to a liver disorder.
4. Sunlight is also used as a sterilizing agent. When we do not have the means to kill bacteria, we expose the suspected contaminated material to extreme sunlight.
Many bacteria, viruses and viable substances are killed by prolonged exposure under direct sunlight.
A specific example is Neisseria gonorrhea which dies in the open air under hours of exposure to sunlight, when the purulent discharge coming from the disease has dried up; so with lots of pathogenic bacteria.
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5. Sunlight provides a spectrum of light so we could see and visualize the beauty of things around us. Science had established that without sunlight, we are unable to “see”. Imagine how the world would look like if there is total darkness.
There are still several beneficial effects of sunlight in our lives. We must however know how to use this properly as excessive abuse of its use could achieve the opposite effect; it could be detrimental to health; skin cancer has been known to come from prolonged exposure to UV sunlight.
Moderation, therefore, is the key word. So, do not be afraid to expose yourself to the early morning sunlight. It is good for your mental and physiological health.
This has been published at Helium.com