A few years ago I learned about the critical importance of sleep for our health. I gave up alcohol immediately to improve my sleep and it improved it so much that I developed trouble sleeping. I had too much energy and felt restless, often at the wrong time of day.
I figured to solve that problem, I'd just exercise more often, harder, and if that didn't work I'd take some melatonin. I went through bottles of melatonin and bottles of NyQuil Z.
Finally I stumbled on the importance of sunlight. Doesn't sunlight cause cancer? Aren't I supposed to avoid the sun like the plague?
The fact is you cannot have good health without good sleep and you cannot have good sleep without light exposure. Our circadian rhythms depend on bright light exposure in the morning to set our metabolic clock for the day which winds us down at night.
Even on a cloudy day, the brightness outside can be 100,000 lux, inside, you may have 5,000 or 10,000 lux. Scientists have found that sunlight improves sleep, which improves immune function. Sunlight improves vitamin D status, which improves immune function. Sunlight's UV-A rays kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses, which also helps keep us healthy. Sunlight prompts our blood vessels to release nitric oxide which lowers blood pressure and helps us to relax. Sunlight exposure also improves mood.
I like to get my sunlight while barefoot and touching the earth. This grounds us and we know that this is true. Whether or not it has any benefit is not known, but there is some evidence that grounding improves wound healing and blood flow. The idea behind grounding is that the earth has a negative charge and when we're connected to it we become a grounding rod which allows electrons to flow through us into the earth which can (in theory) neutralize free radicals, which damage cells. While there is very limited scientific proof that grounding helps mitigate the damage the sun does to our skin, it is intuitive. Step outside in the sun and take off your shoes and you will instantly feel more relaxed.
To avoid skin damage, I avoid burning. I use an app called D Minder which tells me the limits of what I can spend outside and then alerts me to go in. We will all get old eventually, and as a guy, getting a few wrinkles doesn't bother me at all. I'd rather have wrinkles than cancer or a million other chronic illnesses that happen as we rack up damage from viruses, senescent cells damaged blood vessels etc.
Finally I use red light therapy. I have 200 watts of red led flood lights, I use them for about 10 minutes a day. Each bulb cost me about $10. You don't need to spend $2000 on a 1500w red light panel. In fact, you can get plenty of red light in the early AM or at the hour before sunset (golden hour).
The body's clock benefits from light exposure during the day and viewing the sun at different angles in the horizon helps adjust the clock in your brain if it's gotten off track from too
Much screen time or too much time indoors.
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