It is a proven fact that sunlight is very beneficial to our well-being. Research shows that all you need is a casual 5-10 minutes in the sun each day to produce these amazing effects:
• Better sleep. Natural daylight helps shut off your body's production of melatonin, a hormone produced at night that makes you drowsy. This can help you maintain a normal circadian rhythm, so you're more likely to feel tired at bedtime when it's dark outside.
• Happier outlook. A type of depression called seasonal affective disorder affects some people during the winter when they don't get enough sunlight. Experts now believe that sunlight has widespread mood-elevating effects, possibly because the "happy" hormone serotonin increases when nights are short and days are long.
• Protection from autoimmune diseases. Exposure to UV radiation appears to suppress an overactive immune system, according to an April report published in Environmental Health Perspectives. This could explain why exposure to UV rays may help with autoimmune diseases likepsoriasis and lupus; one recent study also suggests it might help alleviate asthma.
• Lessening of Alzheimer's symptoms. Elderly Alzheimer's patients exposed to bright lighting during the day—from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.—got better scores on a mental exam, had fewer symptoms of depression, and lost less function than did those exposed to dim daytime lighting.