Blog by Norma
If you're anything like me, you're obsessed with wearing sunscreen and avoiding the sun. Earlier this month, the Washington Post posted an article about one of Apple's latest features for the Apple Watch, a light sensor to tell users how much time they have spent out in sunlight. This sparked discussion on how vital sunlight exposure is.
For years, we have been bombarded with the importance of limiting our exposure to harmful UV rays and wearing sunscreen. While this argument is still valid, it is important to have some sun exposure. We live in an era in which we spend much of our time indoors due to school, work, or the increase in indoor leisure activities. Spending more time indoors can affect our Vitamin D levels and circadian rhythm and even impact digital eyestrain.
Vitamin D is important for calcium absorption and a robust immune system. The majority of Americans get their Vitamin D from their diet and the sun. Spending as little as 15 minutes a day a few times a week in the sun without sunscreen can give most people the necessary amount of Vitamin D. Moreover, spending time in the sun feels good! Studies have found that sunlight can increase people's moods by increasing the production of serotonin.
Experts also state that spending time outside can help mitigate the likelihood of myopia or nearsightedness. Optometrists recommend children get 80-120 minutes outside to help their eyesight. While the link between sunlight and nearsightedness is not fully known, experts recommend spending time outside to help with digital eyestrain.
But just how much sun do we need? The answer depends on your skin complexion. For those with lighter skin tones, as little as 10-15 minutes is enough, while those with darker skin tones need 10 times as much. On top of this, making sure to go out at the right time of day is also important. Make sure you are going between 10 am - 3 pm if possible. Also, try and step out in the sun within the first few hours of waking up to help your circadian clock adjust.
Getting enough sun not only makes you feel good, but it also benefits your body and mind. Try to increase your time spent outside and ditch the indoors for a few minutes a day if possible.
Amenabar, T. (2023, October 11). How much sunshine are you getting? now your watch can keep track. The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2023/10/11/apple-watch-health-daylight-tracker/