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by Jade Newton •

5 ways UV light may improve your wellbeing

Moving into colder weather, it can sometimes be noted that the increased amount of layers worn, negatively correlates with moods and spirits lowering. This, alongside the sun’s strength weakening, and it being out for less time during the day, can all be argued to affect our morale, as well as other day-to-day issues. With this in mind, we’ve been checking out some studies about the impact of sunshine and UV light on our overall wellbeing. See our findings on how UV light can affect our wellbeing below!   Mood “Researchers at BYU found more mental health distress in people during seasons with little sun exposure. On the contrary, days with plenty of sunshine were associated with better mental health” (1). Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be helped by increasing your natural serotonin levels- a hormone created in the brain, which can have increased production from UV exposure. Serotonin works to boost your mood, making it ideal for helping during the colder, winter months. What’s more, it can also be seen to help people feel more calm and focused too (2), making it also helpful to those with anxiety and depression (1). What’s more, following a study (3), it was noted that “UVA-exposed volunteers were more balanced, less nervous, […] and more satisfied with their own appearance after three weekly sessions [of UV exposure]”, reinforcing UV’s aid in lifting spirits. This clearly demonstrates the importance of increasing UV exposure during the colder months; although UVB weakens in the winter, UVA is just as strong year-round, encouraging the importance of still getting out and about regularly to boost your mood. Sleep Alongside helping improve your mood, serotonin is also an essential hormone for regulating your sleep pattern. This, paired with melatonin, is essential for aiding sleep. Therefore, as the sun isn’t out as regularly, and serotonin levels may lower, it’s no surprise if you find yourself struggling to get out of bed, feeling more tired during the day, and not being able to fall asleep at night. With this in mind, the use of a lightbox or UV exposure during the colder months may be a means of improving the body’s circadian rhythms, if time spent in the light is during daylight hours. Lower blood pressure When UV light hits your skin, your body releases NO (Nitric Oxide) into your blood (1). This works to lower blood pressure and also improve overall heart health. NO, combined with serotonin’s calming abilities combine to both help improve lower blood pressure effectively.  Increased vitamin D “Studies have shown links between low levels of vitamin D and higher rates of numerous diseases since the body relies on sufficient sunlight for its primary systems to operate efficiently. Vitamin D is essential for optimal cardiovascular, immune, respiratory, and skeletal system function. […] Research is ongoing, but studies have indicated that sunlight may provide a significant protective effect for osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, breathing problems, inflammation, and diabetes. Having higher than average vitamin D levels may even lower your risk of getting COVID-19.” (4) Vitamin D can also be linked with stronger bone and teeth development and calcium absorption. Overall, this super vitamin can’t be underestimated in its value to the body’s overall immune system and wellbeing. Vitamin D can be created when exposed to sunlight, converting UVB rays into pre-vitamin D3, which is then processed and stored as vitamin D. Aid skin conditions Some affected persons may find that skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema worsen during the winter months. This may be attributed to skin being covered up, and lesser UV exposure, ultimately lessening vitamin D production. In fact, according to the World Health Organisation (5), “UV radiation has been used to successfully treat a number of diseases, including psoriasis, eczema and jaundice.” This furthers by explaining how different treatments harness UV radiation, with different effects. However, it does finish by noting the importance of avoiding overexposure, due to the risk of longer-term implications caused by burning and skin damage.     View this post on Instagram A post shared by Australian Gold UK (@australian_gold_uk)   Sources