It’s easy to forget when we spend too much time indoors that we need sunlight for our basic well being. The amount of natural light we take in has an effect on our mood and our physical health. Sunlight directly affects the levels of serotonin and the hormone melatonin created in our bodies. When we have sufficient serotonin levels, we feel suffused with a sense of well being—we feel calm, alert, capable. A serotonin deficiency can bring about significant negative changes to mood and emotional balance. Lack of sunlight—and the lack of serotonin that comes with it—are linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder, PMS, depression, irritability, weight gain, alcohol abuse, and migraines. Our sleep is disrupted when we don’t generate enough melatonin, which is released in darkness and helps regulate our biological clock, aiding us to sleep.
How much sunlight do you need?
For most people, a minimum of 20 minutes per day of sunlight is necessary for hormonal regularity. People who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder may need as much as two hours per day to maintain hormonal stability.