And how red light therapy can support it
In this blog we are going to cover the importance of sunlight for optimal health.
- Metabolism & cellular energy
- Eyes, brain & light
- Benefits of sunlight & red light therapy
Metabolism & cellular energy
The human body, just like any other being on earth, needs sunlight to perform many basic functions. Vitamin D for instance can only be synthesised by the sun.
Although sunlight is seen by many as deadly (unless you apply a thick layer of sunscreen), the truth is that for thousands of years, people have been exposed to sunlight with no problem.
During the Roman empire, for example, there were buildings specifically designed to optimise sun exposure (Solaria). In Switzerland sun exposure is also hugely valued and has shown to be very beneficial for fighting smallpox, lupus, tuberculosis and even arthritis. (1)
There are several studies that believe that sunlight is not the problem, nor sunscreen the solution. (2, 3, 5)
Did you know that exposing your body to the morning sun, prepares your body and cells for the UV light later in the day? And it is also important to mention that the evening light has a natural repairing effect on the body. (4)
That is the exact reason why using red and infrared light in the morning and evening is so beneficial. These exact times of the day affect the cells differently providing an energy boost.
If that wasn’t enough reason to expose yourself to natural sunlight, as the seasons and the intensity of light changes, your skin also adapts to the changes, developing a tan that will protect you naturally against UV light during the day.
If we are being realistic, scientists are only starting to understand how important the role of light is for optimal health. Exposing our bodies to the right kind of light can have some really important benefits.
Eyes, brain & light
Our eyes are directly connected to our brain and therefore they are the main indicator our brains use to regulate our body clocks (or circadian rhythm).
The light around us plays an important role when it comes to hormones, including melatonin production, which regulates our sleep. If you expose yourself to sunlight in the morning, you will feel more alert during the day, but contrary, if you are exposed to bright light in the evening hours, you will find it really hard to fall asleep.
Dopamine is another chemical that the brain regulates through light signalling. There are several studies that demonstrate how light exposure increases dopamine levels and therefore improves our mood. Clearly, light has a much more important role that most of us imagine. (6)
Benefits of sunlight & red light therapy
As we have already seen, exposing yourself to the right type of light, during the appropriate times of the day, has a very positive effect on the body.
However in our current society, there are many people who find it pretty much impossible to spend enough time in the sun. Either because of the work schedule, the weather conditions or the country they live in.
Now is when red light therapy comes into the equation.
Red light therapy can supplement your light exposure and make up for all the lack of light you can’t expose yourself to, during the day. The red wavelengths of light in the morning and the evening mimic the sunrise and sunset colours and act as a replacement of the sun that will provide your body with the exact same benefits, minus the UV light…. which means that unfortunately you will not get a tan.
If you are experiencing low mood, you have trouble sleeping, you are gaining weight, your problem might be that you are not getting enough light!
Get out in the sun and supplement your light exposure with red light therapy and you will quickly experience the amazing benefits in your own body, naturally and without any need for drugs.
*Sources of information:
- Our Friend, the Sun: Images of Light Therapeutics. https://www.mcgill.ca/library/files/library/osler-ourfriendsun.pdf
- Melanoma Stats, Facts and Figures https://www.aimatmelanoma.org/melanoma-101/
- Sunscreen Report https://finalstepmarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Sunscreen-Market-Analysis.pdf
- Low-level (light) therapy (LLLT) in skin: stimulating, healing, restoring. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24049929/
- Sun Exposure and Mortality From Melanoma. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15687362/
- Dopamine and light: dissecting effects on mood and motivational states in women with subsyndromal seasonal affective disorder. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23735584/