The Benefits of Sunshine in My Life
Last updated: May 2023
I've always thought that there had to be some health benefits of sunshine. Growing up in dull England will make you start to wonder about these sorts of things. I used to wish I could be somewhere that was warm 24/7. I believed that it would just make me feel a million times better. Fortunately for me, I have managed to get away from the cold winter of England and test if the sunshine really does have its health benefits.
Health benefits of sunshine
Here are 4 health benefits of sunshine that have not only been great for my general health but for my sickle cell too:
Increased vitamin D
Before going away I was taking daily supplements for vitamin D deficiency. People with sickle cell are known to be at a greater risk of developing a deficiency in vitamin D. Science has also shown a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and chronic pain in people suffering from sickle cell. As well as the cause of osteonecrosis. It can also result in more frequent and longer hospital admissions.1,2
While I was away, I stopped taking my supplements. I made sure that I exposed my skin to as much sunlight as possible (with sunscreen of course). On my return, my vitamin D levels were the highest they had been in years. I'm currently not taking any more supplements... for now.
Strengthened bones and immune system
Vitamin D is also great for our immune system and our bones. It helps our bodies to preserve calcium which we need for healthy, stronger bones. It also critical for our immune systems which is great for people living with sickle cell as ours are often weaker due to our spleens not working as they should.1,3
I'm usually always at my lowest during the winter. As soon as that weather starts to change and the sky turns from blue to grey, my mood seems to change with it. I found out that there is actually something known as 'seasonal affective disorder'(SAD).
SAD is a type of depression that is related to the changes in seasons. This explained a lot. As well as this, and as many of us will know; sickle cell does have a huge negative impact on our mental health. Thats where sunshine can help. Sunshine helps our bodies to release a hormone called serotonin. This hormone helps to reduce anxiety, keep us calm and improve our mood and focus. Sunshine wins again.4
Another hormone the sunshine helps our body to create is Melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for helping us to get to sleep. Our body creates this hormone when it gets dark, so it needs the sunshine to help our bodies regulate when we need less (during the day) and when we need more (during the night). Sickle cell has always had an impact on my sleep. While I was away I can honestly say it wasn't as bad.5
There are many health benefits of sunshine. I shared these 4 since I know they also had a positive impact on my sickle cell. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding... Or in this case, the proof was in the sun tan.
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