What Is the Ideal Amount of Sun Exposure You Should Get?
How healthy is it to stay in the sun for the whole day?
We’ll get to that, but first let’s talk a bit about the sun.
If you have read my previous article about sun exposure, you will know that the sun does not actually cause skin cancer, as “they” have succeeded in convincing everybody it does (or maybe you knew that already).
“The conclusion that can be drawn from looking at these studies as a whole is that melanoma is not due to sun exposure. Indeed the conclusion is so clear that it is difficult to understand why scientific consensus still clings to the idea that sunlight is a cause of melanoma.” -Melanoma Is Not Caused by Sunlight by Allen J. Christophers
And I think that many, if not the majority of people by now realize that sun exposure activates vitamin D in our bodies. Actually, your body can’t produce vitamin D without cholesterol either, but that’s another post for another day.
But are there other benefits to sun exposure?
Are There Health Benefits to Tanning?
Call it sun tanning if you are deliberately spending time sitting in the sun, or maybe you work outdoors and have no choice (I would not want to be a roofer or a landscaper in the current climate I am living in!). At any rate, are there health benefits to tanning or extended sun exposure besides the activation of vitamin D, and if so, what is the ideal amount of sun exposure a person should get, and why?
There are indeed several health benefits to sun exposure on a regular basis. Let’s find out what they are, shall we?
What Are the Benefits of Sun tanning?
The health benefits of tanning or extended sun exposure far outweigh the dangers. In fact, there seems to be no real evidence to support the sun being unhealthy in any way, unless you already have skin cancer, or have a vitamin B3 deficiency (photo-sensitivity). So put away the sunscreen. Why?
The above link goes into how most sunscreens actually cause cancer, which is definitely a great example of irony, wouldn’t you say? Here is another article on sunscreen and why you are much better off without it.
But today we are here to extol the virtues of the sun’s rays, and some long and vastly-believed myths about the sun will be dispelled as we go, I’m sure. If your job requires you to be outdoors in the sun all day, or if you just enjoy being in the sunshine for long periods of time and want to avoid sunburn, there are sunscreens that don’t cause cancer, contain hormone disruptors (oxybenzone), or cause male infertility, if you can find them, or you can make your own sunscreen.
The following is a list of ways that sunlight is beneficial for the human body and then we’ll talk more about its items. This is why we need sunlight to be perfectly healthy!
- Strengthens your immune system
- Lowers Cortisol Levels
- Elevates your mood; prevents depression
- Decreases risk of high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis and diabetes
- Helps with weight loss
- Helps prevent hair loss and stimulates hair growth
- Prevents acne, psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo, and other skin conditions
- Reduces the risk of prostate cancer
- Helps wound healing and pain relief
- Protects against asthma
- Good for eyesight
- The vitamin D allows our bodies to more effectively use calcium and is good for the bones
- Good for the brain
- Helps maintain normal sleep patterns
- Helps regulate behavior, hormones and reflexes
Most of the benefits in this list are due to vitamin D production, for which spending time in the sun is crucial. With many of these vitamin D supplementation won’t help much, if at all. There is a reason that I no longer wear sunglasses, and take my contact lenses out much of the time when I am sitting outside in the sun. Dr. Phil Maffetone says it much better than I can:
“The human eye contains photosensitive cells in its retina, with connections directly to the pituitary gland in the brain. Stimulation of these important cells comes from sunlight, in particular, the blue unseen spectrum. A study by Dr.’s Turner and Mainster of the University of Kansas School of Medicine, published in the British Journal of
Ophthalmology in 2008 states that, “these photo-receptors play a vital role in human physiology and health.” The effects are not only in the brain, but the whole body.”
Corrective lenses are certainly never going to “correct” your vision to a point that you no longer need them. It is kind of a misnomer. Really, they just make your eyes worse, over time.
Does Sun-gazing Really Help Correct Vision?
A Quora reader says this: “I have reached 15 min of sun-gazing and still have an excellent eyesight and experienced a number of improvements in my body – sense of smell has drastically improved, my reactions are faster, etc., all related with the nerve system. There is a good movie about the method too called ‘Eat the Sun‘”.
Does sun-gazing actually improve vision or even cure myopia, contrary to everything we’ve been told?
It does seem counter-intuitive, especially when you think of burning ants as a kid with a magnifying glass (if you didn’t do this you were likely a girl), and the fact that your eye has a lens on it. I personally am going to pass on staring into the sun for any length of time, but exposure to the sun’s rays on your eyes is definitely beneficial.
Not only is sunlight good for your eyes themselves, but your eyeballs actually absorb the sun’s UV rays better than your skin does, and some really good things happen via that route that don’t happen through the skin (or supplements).
Optometrists always seem to oppose the facts about the sun being good for your eyes. I wonder why…
How Much Sun Do We Need for Optimal Health?
What is the ideal amount of sun exposure a person should get, and how healthy is it to stay in the sun for say, a whole day?
You would probably not want to stay in the sun all day, every day for months at a time, if you can help it, because you can become dehydrated, or get heat stroke. Some people are photosensitive, which is a result of being vitamin B3 deficient. People with this condition are prone to developing blisters, hives, and skin reactions from too much time in the sun.
Different people require different amounts of sunlight to get all of the needed benefits. For example, age is a factor. Young people absorb vitamin D far better than older people. Also, the amount of sun exposure you receive in a given time frame will depend on how much of you is exposed, including your eyes. If you wear sunglasses, contact lenses or regular eyeglasses, you will benefit less, due to missing the excellent absorption we get through the eyes.
Where you live and the time of day you are in the sun are also factors. But no matter where you live, if the sun is out and you have about half of your skin exposed (and no sunglasses), and say you are 30 years old, an average of an hour a day would be enough to get your required vitamin D. I would say give or take half an hour, when you adjust any of the factors, this way or that. If you are over 50 years old, I believe a half hour either side of an hour and a half should be the aim.
Supplementing with Vitamin D
Of course if you live somewhere where it rains half of the time (or more), you will want to get much more sun exposure when you can, and supplement when you can’t.
Remember that there are few supplements that are worth the money you spend on them, and vitamin D is not very effective if you are magnesium deficient (which most of us are), or you don’t get enough cholesterol. Vitamin D is also better taken with vitamin K.
Here is the vitamin D supplement that I highly recommend:
The cholecalciferol form of vitamin D3 used in this product is derived from cholesterol in sheep’s wool, making it suitable for vegetarians. Vitamin K2 is provided as menaquinone-7, one of the most studied forms of this important nutrient.* –The Health Ranger
The Sun’s Benefits Are Way More than Vitamin D
A short video by Dr. Eric Berg
It is healthy to stay in the sun all day if you choose to, or if your livelihood requires it. It is unhealthy not to spend time in the sun. It is that simple. If you want to feel happy and healthy, take every opportunity to get outside and let the sun do what it does.
The ideal amount of sun exposure you should get depends on a few factors, as mentioned. And again, you will want to avoid sunburn, so it is highly recommended to make your own sunscreen, as most sunscreens that you buy can cause cancer and contain hormone disruptors (oxybenzone), which can also cause male infertility, endometriosis in women, and birth defects.
I hope this has been informative, and please leave your thoughts or questions below.