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Enjoy the Lighter Days: Why Sunlight Is Important for Your Kids

Enjoy the Lighter Days: Why Sunlight Is Important for Your Kids
25 February 2015 1113 Views No comments

The days are getting brighter, with mornings getting lighter earlier and the evenings enjoying a bit more sunshine. Not only does this mean there is a definite whiff of spring in the air, but it also means that you have more options when it comes to how much you head outside.

Having a few extra hours of sunshine each day is great for your mood, especially after the dark winter months, which can seem to slog on forever. Just the fact that it is light when you wake up and when you head home can really make a difference, leaving you feeling much happier and brighter.

However, it also has other health benefits that are important to your whole family. This is why it is a good idea to engage in more activities in the sunshine, even if the temperatures aren't rising quite yet.

Here are some of the main benefits of you and your kids getting to see a bit more sunshine.

More vitamin D

Our bodies need sunlight, as it is the initiator of vitamin D3 creation. We actually can't produce vitamin D without sunlight.

The UVB rays work with cholesterol in our skin to result in vitamin D being created within our liver and kidneys. This is why you need to be out in the sunlight for at least half an hour at a time for three or four days each week.

Unfortunately, windows block these rays, so you aren't able to benefit from a vitamin D boost when sat inside, even if you're enjoying the sunshine in a conservatory. Sun screens also block UVB rays, but are needed to protect the skin.

You also can't produce more vitamin D than your body needs, as production shuts off automatically, ensuring that what you do get is just right.

Improves immunity

If you get more sunlight and your body produces more vitamin D, it will help to boost your immune system. Scientists believe that vitamin D helps to ensure that T cells are functioning correctly.

T cells are the body's defence system against viruses and illness. The lack of sunlight in winter could therefore explain why so many people suffer from illness, as their immune system is weakened by the lack of sunlight.

Getting more sun is vital for children in this respect, as they are around other children all the time and could therefore be exposed to different forms of cold and flu.

Strong bones

Vitamin D has another vital role in the body – it helps to improve calcium absorption. This means it helps to keep bones strong and healthy, something that is particularly important in little ones, as their bones are constantly growing.

Better sleep

Getting more exposure to sunlight helps to regulate your circadian rhythms. This means that you are able to fall asleep more quickly and maintain a good REM cycle. Ultimately, this ensures that you sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed.

As sleep is the time when your body repairs itself, getting a good night's sleep is hugely important.

More physical

The chances are, if you're outside you are being more active. Staying inside tends to keep people more sedentary, which isn't great for health. Making the most of the sun and going out and about is likely to see you walk more, as well as help your little ones to play more.

This helps with overall health and fitness, exercising muscles and burning fat, even with short walks. If you're making an effort to go out more now it's sunnier, try walking to places rather than driving. Not only will you get exposed to more sunshine, but you'll also feel healthier for it.