The sun has been shining in Wisconsin for the last week or so and I have been in a really good mood. Not only that, but I’ve been full of energy, ready to work, and productive when I’m awake! There is snow still piled up outside and it hasn’t passed the 40 degree Farenheit mark, but it feels more like July than February over here! I started to wonder why this part of the year makes an annual dramatic shift in my day to day life. Clearly, the sunshine helps a lot, but what are the benefits of sunlight on mental health?
Not Sunlight, Actually Vitamin D
Though sunlight feels really good on your face after a long winter and brings out those cute freckles, it’s not actually sunlight doing all the hard work. It’s Vitamin D! It’s fairly common to have a slight Vitamin D deficiency. According to Healthline, nearly 42% of adults aren’t getting the right amount of Vitamin D. These small deficiencies can lead to depression, lack of sleep, and issues with eating. Big deficiencies can actually end up causing larger skeletal problems and mineralization in your bones.
I’ve been taking a Vitamin D supplement for some time at the advice of my doctor. But, why is this one vitamin so powerful? What does it do for mental health overall?
Vitamin D and Depression
There’s a huge correlation between vitamin D levels and people reporting they feel depressed. Those diagnosed with depression are more likely to be within the 42% of people who have an ongoing deficiency. Also, the receptors that intake all the Vitamin D are biologically in the same place as those that we study for depression. Coincidence? I think not!
Sunlight and Our Everyday Life
In general, sunlight dictates a lot of our routines and rhythms. If you’re in a place where days get shorter/colder during some parts of the year, you know how weird your routine can get with even the smallest of changes. It’s easier to get up when it’s light outside. It’s easier to get long, restful sleep when it’s dark outside – simple as that!!
To recap: Sunlight encourages a normal sleeping pattern which encourages a normal routine! If you haven’t allowed a self help podcast, blog, or book to infiltrate your brain yet, one of the first things they’ll recommend is establishing a routine that you feel confident in to be productive. In most people, increased hours of sunlight usually means an increase in productivity throughout their day.
I like to leave you guys with something to take away from the blogs. It might be something new that you didn’t know, maybe it’s a tidbit of information that makes you approach the world differently, or maybe it’s just a little something to make you smile!
As I finish this blog up, it’s rainy and dark outside. The opposite of everything I’ve been talking about in these last few paragraphs. In 2021, I hope that I soak up the sunshine – not just physically, but I soak up the serotonin that it feeds my brain. After a year of what felt like endless rain, we can all remember that sunlight is possible. We can look for the sun’s effects on our mental health every single day!
How is the weather making you feel? Tell me at any of my socials below!
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