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Home  /  Blog  /  Summer + Sunshine = Smile
sunshine & health
2nd August 2018

Summer + Sunshine = Smile

Doug Pazienza, our counsellor, explains the “sunshine” equation.

My zodiac sign is Cancer so summer is my time to shine and this year has been stellar after months of rain, wind and mud.  I have always been outdoor-oriented and a sun seeker. Being rather susceptible to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). I like a healthy dose of sunshine…with sun protection cream and limit my exposure.

Yes, for those in the North East unaccustomed to the spate of warm weather, especially the vulnerable, the heat has been challenging

Nevertheless, the abundant sunshine has benefits.  Sunshine is a natural mood booster. because sunlight triggers serotonin. This a chemical in the body and neurotransmitter in the brain that is believed to help regulate mood and social behaviour, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory and sexual desire and function.

Drugs that alter serotonin levels are used to treat depression, nausea and migraines and they may have a role in obesity and Parkinson’s disease.

The World Health Organization recommends getting 5-15 minutes of sunshine on your hands, face and arms a few times a week.  A general rule of thumb is to avoid the most direct rays after 10 am and before 4 pm.

And it’s for free

The wonderful thing about sunshine is that it’s natural and it’s free to us.  So avail yourself of all the free vitamin D that comes from summer sunshine. You might even improve your sleep cycle.  How?  Well, vitamin D helps to regulate the release of melatonin, the hormone that makes you drowsy.

Living healthier in the summer is easier because I eat less stodgy, “comfort” foods and I’m less sedentary.  I thrive on all the earthly goodness that abounds this time of year like locally grown fresh fruit and vegetables.

For me, the lighter, longer days push back that instinctual urge to retreat indoors when the nights draw in and the dampness settles across the land.  That leaves me more time to walk the dog on the beach, take a bike ride or pitch and putt down at the Links.  On a warm evening, it’s lovely to dine al fresco and soak up nature.

Exercise releases endorphins, the hormones in the brain and nervous system that trigger a positive feeling in the body.  The feel-good factor helps us to manage pain, stress and depression.  Regular exercise has also been proven to improve self-esteem and improve sleep.

So enjoy a healthy sunshine time.

Published on: 2nd August 2018