It's said that being kissed is good for your health. Being sun-kissed is even better.
As British Summertime sadly comes to an end, we must wave goodbye to long nights, warm breezes and brilliant sunshine for another year and spend the next few months dreaming of bare legs, golden tans and a lack of goose bumps. However why is it that Jack Frost’s arrival is accompanied by a wave of The Winter Blues? Dubbed ‘The Sunshine Vitamin’, vitamin D can not be snubbed for its ability to improve moods.
After a holiday abroad, it's natural to come back feeling relaxed and happy.
This is due to sunshine and increased levels of vitamin D warding off negative vibes: After a hard day’s sun-worshipping, natural feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin are released, causing you to feel on top of the world. It comes as no surprise, then, that as the nights draw in and sunset is expected practically at lunchtime our upbeat attitudes can be (for better use of a phrase,) beaten down.
Unfortunately in the UK, the winter sun is not strong enough to stimulate the production of The Sunshine Vitamin. Every extra jumper we wear replaces more and more of our dwindling positivity, caused due to a lack of vitamin D and subsequent limited creation of happy hormones. This lack of serotonin and dopamine, for some, can result in SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and symptoms of depression accompanying them on their slog through the winter months.
However this need not be an annual sentencing as according to Dr. Holick, ‘by far the most effective treatment for SAD is sunlight’.
He also explains how another ‘happy hormone’, beta endorphin is produced not only by the brain but also the skin in response to UVB exposure (thus stimulating the production of Vitamin D), which again contributes to a sun seeker’s positive outlook on life. This exposure to UVB rays does not differ depending on whether you use a sunbed or bask in the summer sun. Therefore lying back and relaxing on a sunbed during this frosty period will not only maintain your peachy glow but will also help produce more of The Sunshine Vitamin to banish away those negative vibes and lethargy caused by melatonin. Peeling off the layers and baring some skin to combat The Winter Blues - do we need another reason to love Vitamin D?!
With winter in full swing for the next few months, we wish our friends from over the pond a wonderful, replenishing summer. Nevertheless, hurry up and come back here, summer! We miss your kisses!
Tip: When using sunbeds to boost vitamin D levels, it is advised that you consider turning off facial tanners – if the sunbed has any. Smaller lamps are high-pressure, not the low-pressure UVB emitting lamps which you need to stimulate the production of vitamin D.
- Holick, Michael F (2003), The UV Advantage: new medical breakthroughs reveal powerful health benefits from sun exposure and tanning, New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
- https://www.vitamindday.net http://www.vitamindsociety.org/links.php