Sunshine and Serotonin: How Increased Daylight Hours Affect Our Health
The arrival of spring brings with it lots of exciting changes, especially this year! One change that can have some really positive health benefits is increased daylight and sunshine. Here’s why…
In winter when it’s dark in the morning and the early evening we use a lot of energy fighting off our drowsiness. This is when many of us turn to caffeine to pull us through. In spring when it gets lighter and we don’t have to fight so hard to fight keep our eyes open, it’s a good time to try reducing your caffeine intake. If you don’t want to go cold turkey, you could try swapping your coffee for matcha which has less caffeine plus contains theanine, an amino acid which regulates the slow release of caffeine. So you’ll feel more energised all day, not just in sharp bursts.
As we move into spring and we spend more time in the sunlight our vitamin D intake should increase too. Our body creates vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin when we’re outdoors. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles amongst many other things. It’s important to note that we only get vitamin D from outdoor sunlight. Your body can’t make vitamin D from sitting indoors by a sunny window because the UVB rays can’t move through glass. If you are spending a lot of time indoors at the moment, (as most of us have done for the past year!) it could be worth giving your body an extra boost of Vitamin D.
Last but definitely not least, exposure to sunlight is also thought to increase the brains’s release of serotonin, a hormone linked to boosting mood. So, in theory we should start to feel our mood lifting too!