Benefits of Natural Light

Benefits of Natural Light

Getting outside can bring so many health benefits. It encourages movement, helps us get fresh air and it allows us to get exposure to natural light — which helps our bodies, moods and minds in more ways than you might expect.

pink and purple wild flowers

How much sunlight should you strive for? Depending on your skin tone, anywhere from 5-15 or up to 30 minutes of exposure to sunlight, even when it’s dappled, can provide benefits in five areas.

Regulate Circadian Rhythm 
It may not seem like an instant connection, but light in the morning can help you sleep better at night. Exposure to natural light, especially during the early parts of the day, helps regulate the body's internal clock.

That internal clock, called your circadian rhythms, influence the production of melatonin, a hormone produced by the brain in response to darkness.

Plant shadows on a white wall

Reduce Stress 
Spending time in environments with dappled light, such as shaded outdoor spaces or forested areas, has been shown to lower stress levels and promote relaxation. The calming effect of nature can contribute to overall mental and emotional well-being.

dark tree leaves shadows on a light brown wall

Well-rested people, thanks to well-regulated circadian rhythms!, stay calmer since a good night’s sleep reduces stress hormones like cortisol.

Enhance Your Mood
Natural sunlight, including dappled light, can boost mood and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. How? Sunlight exposure triggers the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and well-being. 

Limited sunlight during winter can contribute to Seasonal Affect Disorder, so ensuring you get some sun when you can is a good idea in winter months. Other mood boosts can come from a good night's sleep, which again is more connected to early daylight than you may have realized!

Woman reading on couch by a large window surrounded by plants

Get Essential Vitamin D 
Many people know about young people needing vitamin D to grow. But even adults need this essential vitamin, and most do not get the required amounts our bodies need. It can be challenging to get enough of it via food alone. Exposure to sunlight — even dappled — stimulates the production of vitamin D in the skin. 

Modern Sprout Tiny Terra plants set next to a window with sun beaming in

Our bodies need vitamin D for overall well-being. Specifically, vitamin D allows the body to absorb and retain both calcium and phosphorus from the gut, which supports bone and teeth health. It’s also essential for immune function as it reduces inflammation and helps control infections. Vitamin D can also help reduce cancer cell growth. 

Improve Cognitive Function
Studies have shown that bright light, like sunlight, can promote alertness. Other research suggests that exposure to natural light may improve cognitive function and performance. You’ve already learned that sunlight impacts serotonin and melatonin. But beyond mood and mental health, these neurotransmitters are connected to cognitive function. 

Woman reading a magazine bed next to a Modern Sprout Turmeric Uplift Planter

The good news is dappled light helps create a beautiful environment conducive for activities requiring concentration and mental clarity while also getting your body the sunlight it needs to improve both!

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