How Does Sun Affect Us in the Summer?
Have you ever noticed how your mood can alter between the winter and summer months? Weather dictates much of what we do, and it can also have profound effects on our mental health. The changes in daylight, temperature and exposure to sunlight can impact our entire sense of wellbeing, which is why many people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during those dark and gloomy months. If you find that you’re a completely different person once the summer rolls around, you’re certainly not alone.
So, how does the sun affect us in the summer and make us feel happier? Read on to learn more about this important topic.
It Improves Our Mood
One of the most common and noticeable ways that the sun affects us in the summer is by enhancing our mood. Once the sunshine appears, it’s hard not to take note of how much happier and pleasant people seem to be. They’re out and about, smiling, laughing and enjoying the warm and pleasant environment around them. This change happens for a number of reasons, but most prominently, because sunlight stimulates the levels of serotonin in the brain, and serotonin is directly correlated with improving our mood. Since sunlight is abundant during the summer, it’s naturally when our serotonin levels peak.
It Subdues Depression or SAD
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common issue that many people experience during the winter season. This form of seasonal depression is triggered by the lack of sunlight and can be extremely taxing for those who experience it. It can instigate moodiness and irritability, sadness, tiredness, isolation and a lack of sleep. Once the winter ends and the summer sun finally surfaces, this usually begins to dissipate. Though seasonal depression can still be present during the warmer weather, it is far less common.
Increases Vitamin D
We all know that vitamin D is crucial for optimal health, but do you know what important role it really plays? This vitamin is directly related to our bone health – it helps keep them healthy and strong. It also plays a critical role in treating depression. Though you can take supplements, the best way to absorb this essential vitamin is through the ultraviolet light emitted from the sun. Getting just 15 minutes of sunshine each day is enough to give your body the dose it needs to function optimally.
Improves Our Sleep Patterns
Though many of us are aware of how important sunlight is for vitamin D absorption, the effects of sunlight on our brain and body reach far beyond that. During the winter season, we’re often exposed to a plethora of artificial lights, from our TV screens, laptops and other electronic devices. This can throw our circadian rhythm completely out of whack, causing overstimulation, restlessness and insomnia. But with more exposure to the sun, our brain is able to balance out our serotonin and melatonin levels, which helps to stabilize our sleep patterns and keep us refreshed to take on the day.
If you’re experiencing SAD or are struggling to get past the grip of the winter blues Ottawa Counselling is here to offer support, comfort and guidance to help you shed those darker emotions so you can get back to enjoying life. Don’t suffer in silence. Get in touch today to set up an appointment.