Ahh, summer. It’s the magical time of year when our worries seem to fade away, the sun shines, the temperatures rise, and for a short while we can kick back and relax. But what is it about summer that seems to always make us smile? Is it the warmer temps? Extra daylight? Simply the vitamin D from summer sunshine? Turns out, there are some real, scientific reasons that help us feel better during the summer months. Let’s explore.
There’s an undeniable connection between weather and mood. You’ve probably already heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (aka SAD), a type of depression that begins in the fall and continues through the winter months.
SAD occurs during the winter, typically for many because of the lack of light exposure. What’s the deal? Exposure to sunlightstimulates the release of everyone’s favorite hormone: serotonin. In case you’re not familiar, this particular hormone is associated with boosting mood and helping you feel calmer and more focused. If you don’t get enough sun exposure, your serotonin levels will drop, negatively affecting your mental health. More time outside in the summer, means more sun exposure, and thus more serotonin.
In addition to boosting mood, sun exposure is critical for the production of vitamin D, which is produced in your skin in response to sunlight.Vitamin D serves several important functions, including regulating immune system function, facilitating bone growth and development, and protecting against certain diseases.
Does my sleep schedule change in the summer?
Sort of. Your body’s natural desire is to be awake during the day and feel tired at night. More sunlight means we’re waking up earlier, and going to bed later. But these changes also promote more restful sleep, something we can all probably agree supports a good mood and general wellbeing.
For those that have access to summer sun, aim to spend some time outside enjoying it and taking in its many benefits. To maintain sufficient vitamin D levels,experts suggest that getting between ten to 30 minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands, and face three times weekly is sufficient for most people.Studies show, however, that those with darker skin may need anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours.
To prevent burning and keep your skin healthy and safe, make sure you apply sunscreen.
Obviously, we had to share some tips and tricks for basking in the sunshine (gotta make the most of the good juju)! Enjoying the summertime in a mindful way only serves to help us enjoy the season even more. Here are our top tips to mindfully enjoy the sun: