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How to use it to our advantage

How to use it to our advantage

Winter, which is drawing to a close, has been emotionally tough on some people. Cool, higher work or study load, less free time…and a few hours of daylight. The short days of winter affect emotional discomfort. There is, in fact, even a clinical category for those who are particularly affected by a lack of light: seasonal affective disorder, whose English acronym corresponds precisely to the word for “sad” in that language (Seasonal affective disordersad).

Continuous deprivation of the sun can generate irritability, lack of energy, concentration problems or decreased libido. a Stady Consideration was given to verifying whether other environmental factors, such as pollution or temperature, could not be linked to seasonal affective disorder. Seasonal changes in sunlight remained the champions.

Home isolation in response to the epidemic put on the table the relationship of subordination between the people and the Sun King. So, It has been reported that those with less access to sunlight were less active during confinement and that the sleep-wake pattern it is late This is partly due to less exposure to the sun in the morning.

A person sunbathes in the Park Guell in Barcelona at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

Enrique Fontcuberta / EFE

“The sun does the job of synchronizing our bodies, to indicate what time of day it is. Like the rest of the animals that lived on this planet, we had to adapt to the fact that there is light and darkness. This entails the expression of one type or another of genes depending on the day or night,” he explains. Nestor Sanchez, a neuropsychiatric immunologist and co-founder of Regenera, a company that specializes in training and private clinical care.

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Light regulates what’s known as the circadian rhythm, an internal biological clock that sets those physiological patterns with a 24-hour cycle. Sleep is one of the controlled functions, to which other functions such as eating or physical activity are added.

Get out in the sun in the morning and avoid light and screens at night

To get the clock on time, the sun is essential, which ultimately controls the production of the hormone melatonin. For this reason, “being in the sun in the morning is interesting,” Sanchez says. And avoid light at night. Screens before bed are not good friends with circadian rhythms because they have the potential to alter them.

The adjusted clock will facilitate the best quality of sleep and the opposite will affect the mood or cognitive level. Memory, for example, is one of the many abilities affected by sleep deprivation. Who hasn’t had plenty of distractions after a bad night?

Sunbathing couple

Sunbathing couple

Getty Images/iStockphoto

In terms of emotional well-being, other than the downside of sunset, there is practically unanimity in asserting that exposure to it is associated with numerous benefits when done judiciously. Among its properties: reduce stress, reduce symptoms of depression, improve cognitive performance, or even increase job satisfaction when it takes place in the sun.

“Looking at the sun for 15 minutes when we wake up generates measurable changes in mood,” says Sanchez. a rehearsal It found that light therapy that simulated sunlight for half an hour in the morning led to improvements in people with depression, either alone or in combination with the antidepressant fluoxetine.

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Hence, star rays have been used therapeutically throughout history. There are many experiences that exist sunny rooms In a hospital with a psychiatric admission resulted in early discharge of patients.

Sunlight releases serotonin, which is associated with a positive mood

It has been shown that sunlight can stimulate the release of serotonin, a central neurotransmitter in the brain and associated with a positive state of mind. The absence of the former will reduce the level of the neurotransmitter, which has been linked to SAD mentioned above.

The positive effect on emotional well-being may, in turn, be mediated by vitamin D. more than 90% Of its total value comes from sun exposure, and its deficiency has been linked to symptoms of depression. However, it seems that the relationship is not that clear.

90% of vitamin D comes from sun exposure

Vitamin D is specifically an immune regulator and is involved in brain aging and mental illness. An overactive immune system, inflammation, has a lot to do with mood, says Sanchez, although illnesses of this nature don’t always have to be linked to inflammation.

And the expert explains that the central hours of the day are better, especially in the winter, to extract this vitamin from sunlight. “At dawn, you won’t make vitamin D, but you will prepare for it, so at noon, when you’re in the sun, you make it better and burn less,” he says.

All light, however, has a shadow. Added to the bulk of the beneficial findings is evidence of an increase in violent suicides or the onset of episodes of disorders such as bipolar disorder associated with high heatstroke.

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without traffic

Excessive sun exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer. It also reduces the elasticity of the skin, becoming one of the main factors for premature aging of the organ. The main recommendations for safe enjoyment of the sun are:


Avoid exposure to the sun for long days


Do not expose yourself in the central hours of the day (12:00 AM to 5:00 PM)


Apply sunscreen frequently, at least every two hours, with a high protection factor


In the hot months, drink water frequently to avoid dehydration


The eyes also suffer. Wearing approved sunglasses protects them from the risk of developing cataracts as well as the delicate skin around them


Some medications can increase the skin’s sensitivity to UV light

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Joseph Corbella

Sunbathing couple