Keeping Sane: How Does the Sun Help?

The sun is a key factor in determining our moods, energy levels, and our outlook on life. After extended stretches of cloudy weather, people may get irritable, stressed, or even experience depression. The same is true for those who spend most of the day inside or who are active much of the night while sleeping during sunlight hours.

This research confirms what I notice in myself on a daily basis. My mood lifts almost instantly when I see a sunbeam or take a walk in the sunshine. And you don't want to know me after a week of rainy weather! Here are some interesting observations and research on the sun and what it can do for our mental health.

Unfortunately, we don't always get outside to enjoy the sun as much as we could. Daniel F. Kripke, a researcher with the University of California San Diego, surveyed adults in San Diego, who wore wrist meters to register the amount of sunlight they received during the day. The study found that the majority was only exposed to sunlight for less than one hour per day and some did not go outdoors at all during a 48-hour period. But we should still try, because every little sunbeam helps your mood!

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