Sunshine--Light of Life

One of the basics for life and health is sunshine.  Interesting epidemiological studies have shown that people who live in the more northern and souther latitudes and receive less of the suns rays year by year suffer a lager percentage per capita of serious disease processes than those in latitudes further toward the equator who receive more sunshine.  Some of these processes like multiple sclerosis, cancer and high blood pressure are serious and life threatening as we age.

In recent years we have heard a lot about SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder (see http://www.emeraldhef-ie.org/downloads/Fighting_SAD.pdf).  Our brains need sunlight to be healthy and during the dark months of the year many people suffer from depression-like symptoms caused by not getting enough sunlight.  Sunlight is vital for regulating our blood pressure and the vitamin D that is synthesized within our bodies is vital for many aspects of health, especially the health of the immune system.

While these interactions are numerous and somewhat complicated and we may not understand the implications on a cellular level, we can all understand that our health and well being is directly related to the amount of sunlight we get day by day.  Even when the weather is bad, we need to try to get outside during the middle of the day for a half hour or so.  Supplementing the diet with Vitamin D may be a good idea as well, since this is easily done without adverse side effects.  Studies suggest that in Ireland we cannot get enough of this from the available sun exposure.

Full spectrum lighting in the sitting room, kitchen and other parts of the house may be useful as well to help fight the SAD syndrome.  This is inexpensive and adds to the general positive ambiance of the living space we spend so much time in during the winter.  Many businesses choose to install full spectrum lighting as well, as it not only benefits the health of the employees, but makes customers feel more comfortable.

Taking a sun break to a sunny destination during the winter is another positive proactive step to help keep the health in order.  At the end of the day, it's a more pleasant way to spend both time and money than on doctor visits and time in the hospital.

 http://www.emeraldhef-ie.org


 http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/healthpromotion/