6 Healing Benefits of Sunlight

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

The benefits of sunlight are incredible. As without that daily dose of it, surviving on the earth simply wouldn’t be possible.


Sunlight is an electromagnetic radiation given off by the Sun. It is a bright light and radiant heat, which we often refer to as sunshine. One of the constants in life is the rising of the sun and the delivery of warmth to the surface of the planet. The importance of sunrays cannot be overstated, as it allows life to exist on Earth. However, for human beings, it is also a critical element of health. Our body needs the rays of sun to produce certain compounds, and it also has an effect on dozens of psychological and physical systems.

Benefits of Sunlight

The benefits of sunlight include the following benefits:

  • May help prevent breast cancer
  • Protects against infections
  • Boosts bone health
  • Improves brain function
  • Gives relief from sleep problems

Let us look at the benefits in detail below.

Two people sitting on a recliner at a beach

Two people sitting on a recliner at a beach. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Improves Bone Health

Sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D by the skin, which is essential for preventing osteoporosis and the loss of bone mineral density as you age. [1]

Boosts Brain Function

Regular changes in your hormone levels and a calm and relaxed mind can help to boost brain health and prevent certain neurodegenerative diseases. Natural light also helps in improving your sleep, mood, and lifestyle. [2]

Regulates Sleep

Sunlight helps the body release serotonin, while darkness cues the body to release melatonin, which can help humans fall asleep. Without this cycle, your body’s hormonal releases can become delayed, resulting in unwanted side effects, such as insomnia. [3]

Prevents Infections

Research has found that exposure to sunlight is able to stimulate the immune system of the body, thus preventing various infections and pathogens.  This immune system boost positively affects both the skin and internal defenses. [4]

Anticancer Potential

Many studies have mentioned the deficiency of vitamin D leading to the occurrence of cancer. The American Society of Nephrology suggests that regular exposure to sunlight has been linked to a reduced risk of colon, pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancer. Sun exposure is found to be helpful in lowering the risk of bladder cancer as well. [5] [6] [7]

However, if you stay out in the sun for too long, the exposure to UV rays may increase your risk of skin cancer.

Skin Care

Although too much sun is a bad thing, occasional exposure can help the skin defend against various forms of inflammation or infections, like psoriasis and eczema.

Risks of Sunlight Exposure

As most people already know, exposure to sunrays should be experienced in moderation.

  • An excessive amount of sunlight can result in sunburn and more long-term problems due to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. [8]
  • Prolonged exposure can increase your risk of skin cancer, as well as many other health issues.
  • It can also affect the appearance and texture of our skin, particularly as we age.

As with anything that is important for our overall health, moderation is key.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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