Sunlight and the Brain

Photo courtesy of Stoonn at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Photo courtesy of Stoonn at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Summer is finally here again, bringing great weather, perfect for outdoor activities! Did you know that sunlight also benefits the brain? Yes, indeed! Naturally, staring directly into the sun is not good for the brain (or eyes for that matter), however the brain actually functions better when a person’s eyes are exposed to sunlight. Additionally, the brain is capable of actually detecting sunlight, whether or not a person can see as studies have shown light can stimulate the brains of blind people as well.

Sunlight has the ability to stimulate brain activity an enhance:

  • Mood
  • Alertness
  • Performance
  • Productivity

Sunlight increases the release of a hormone in the brain called serotonin, which is associated with improved mood, which contributes to wellbeing and happiness. When a person is not exposed to the sun for long periods, serotonin levels are known to decrease. During the winter months when sunlight exposure is much lower, people are more likely to develop mood issues such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Get out there and enjoy the sunshine!