Sunshine & Serotonin

Mar 15, 2019

In South Africa, we are used to hearing about how too much sun can be harmful to you. But did you know that the right balance of sun exposure can have lots of mood-lifting benefits?

It’s a fact that exposure to sunlight triggers the release of so-called “happiness hormones” in the brain. The most popular happiness hormones are endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.

Serotonin improves moods and prevents depression.

Decreased sun exposure has been associated with a drop in your serotonin levels, which can lead to major depression. Anxiety-related disorders and panic attacks have also been linked with changing seasons and reduced sunlight.

This kind of makes sense why a number of feel a bit “down in the dumps” during the cooler months of the year, when there is very little sun.
There is a reason the sun rises and sets. At night, darker lighting triggers the brain to make another hormone called melatonin. This hormone is responsible for helping you sleep.

A mood boost isn’t the only reason to get increased amounts of sunlight. There are several health benefits associated with catching moderate amounts of rays…. But more on that in future blog posts : – )

Until then, be assured that spending safe periods in the sun (i.e. 15-20 minutes a day, preferably not between 12-2pm if you have particularly fair skin), is actually really good for you!