Light exposure affects mental health in REMARKABLE ways, study reveals

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light-exposure(NaturalHealth365)  Most people know that exposure to artificial light late at night or even during a nighttime trip to the bathroom disrupts sleep.  However, exposure to natural light during the morning and afternoon after sound sleep greatly benefits human health.  This statement directly contrasts with the mainstream media’s obsession with avoiding the sun at all costs to allegedly prevent skin cancer.

As detailed in a recent study published in Nature Mental Health, exposure to sunlight is especially beneficial to mental health.  In particular, exposure to light in the daytime is essential for mental health.

Study illuminates how light exposure can transform mental health

Though few know it, a disturbance in circadian rhythm is the most common characteristic of psychiatric disorders.  Light is the main dictator of the circadian clock, where exposure to daytime light bolsters rhythms, while exposure to nighttime light disrupts circadian rhythms.

Scientists with Melbourne, Australia’s Monash School of Psychological Sciences, and the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health wanted to know if regular exposure to light might be an environmental risk factor for psychiatric disorder susceptibility.

The study centered on 86,772 adults with an average age of 62.4 years.  Scientists analyzed exposure to light in the day and night to determine if it was associated with a higher risk for the development of psychiatric disorders.

The study revealed that heightened exposure to light during the night was linked to a higher chance of:

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  • Major depressive disorder
  • PTSD
  • Psychosis
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Self-harm

Alternatively, heightened exposure to natural light during the day decreased the risk for psychosis, self-harm, PTSD, and depressive disorder.

Exposure to elevated levels of light during the nighttime hours hiked the risk of depression by 30%.  Those exposed to significant amounts of light during the day cut their risk of depression by an impressive 20%.  The same trends held true for light exposure in the context of developing bipolar disorder, psychosis, PTSD, and generalized anxiety disorder.

Beaming with benefits: How sunlight can supercharge your health

If you haven’t been taking a stroll around the block for at least 20 minutes daily without exception, now is the time to start, especially on sunny days.  Expose your face, arms, and legs to the sun during a walk, jog, or run, and you’ll do your body a litany of favors.

Let your skin soak up the sun daily, and you’ll receive an infusion of vitamin D, essential for human health.  Regular sunlight exposure also improves the immune system by generating vitamin D.  Vitamin D has immunomodulatory effects that enhance immune system functionality, ultimately helping ward off illness and infection.

As highlighted above, consistent exposure to sunlight helps regulate circadian rhythm for optimal sleep and functionality during waking hours.  Sunlight exposure also enhances mood through the production of serotonin, a hormone released within the brain that makes one feel happy and less stressed.

So, seize the opportunity to embrace the sun and unlock its many health benefits, ultimately enhancing your mental health and overall quality of life.

Sources for this article include:

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