11 Health Benefits of Sunshine

From better bone health to improved sleep, these are the top reasons to log a bit of time in the sun

Summer is on the way and that means longer days with more sunshine are in the near future.[slideshow:1301]

While many of us love the sun for the warm feeling it leaves on our skin or the opportunity to shed some layers, sunshine brings a few other lesser-known benefits. From better bone health to improved sleep and even a reduced risk of developing some cancers, the sun’s rays can greatly benefit our health.

That said, it’s common knowledge that too much direct exposure to the sun’s rays can be harmful to our heath, causing skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. Finding the right balance is key. Most people only need a few minutes in the sun to start taking advantage of the benefits; but you should always be careful not to let the skin burn.

Start out with just a few minutes in direct sunlight and take advantage of these 11 health benefits.

Reduces Cancer Risk

It’s common knowledge that prolonged exposure to the sun without adequate protection can lead to skin cancer, but sunlight can also offset the risk of developing other types of cancer. According to a scientific paper published in Environmental Health Perspectives, “Whereas skin cancer is associated with too much UVR exposure, other cancers could result from too little. Living at higher latitudes increases the risk of dying from Hodgkin lymphoma, as well as breast, ovarian, colon, pancreatic, prostate, and other cancers, as compared with living at lower latitudes.”

Improves Sleep

Exposure to sunlight during the day helps keep circadian rhythms on track and boosts levels of serotonin, which in turn helps you fall asleep more easily, enjoy a better night’s sleep and wake up more refreshed.

Check out the 9 Other Health Benefits of Sunshine