Natural Light and Health: 5 Illnesses Treated By Sunlight Exposure

Natural Light and HealthWhen most people talk about the benefits of natural light, they mention its interior decorating and architectural benefits. From expanding a room to matching a certain color scheme, natural light can be a wonderful architectural asset.

Another benefit of natural light is its cost: nothing. With the cost of energy rising to the point where many people are becoming more conscious of their consumption, a low-cost, energy-efficient option is always welcomed.

One aspect of natural light that’s rarely mentioned, however, is its ability to improve people’s health. From healing illnesses to reducing fatigue, natural light offers many health benefits to individuals.

In this blog post, we’ll look at five health conditions and illnesses – from everyday annoyances to serious health issues – that are improved, managed or treated with natural sunlight exposure.

Colon and Breast Cancer

We’ve all heard of people developing skin cancer from spending too much time in the sun. Because of this, it seems amazing that sunlight exposure could reduce the chance of developing cancer. Just how is this possible?

The answer lies in vitamin D. Drs. Frank and Cedric Garland from the University of California in San Diego found that vitamin D deficiencies – caused by spending too little time in the sun – could potentially lead to colon cancer.

Lack of vitamin D not only increases one’s chance of developing colon cancer; it’s also linked to increased breast cancer rates. Don’t spend too much time in the sun, but make sure you don’t avoid sunlight altogether.


We’ve all heard of winter depression – a seasonal change in mood and mindset that is now referred to as seasonal affective disorder. Moderate sunlight exposure has a proven link to reduced rates of depression in adults.

This is because spending time in the sun – whether through a window or outside – results in an increase of natural antidepressant hormones, primarily the happiness-promoting hormone serotonin.

When the weather is bright and sunny, a greater amount of serotonin is released than normal. This leads to an improvement in mood and a reduced change of any depressive mental conditions developing.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation may not be an illness, but it’s a serious medical condition that a large number of people are forced to live with. Exposure to sunlight is linked to an improvement in sleep and a reduction in conditions such as insomnia.

This is because of the body’s natural biological clock, which responds strongly to a number of visual signals. The biggest of them is sunlight; when it’s light outside, we release chemicals that make us feel more alert and less fatigued.

When the body’s natural day-night cycle becomes disrupted, sunlight exposure can decline and circadian rhythms can change. Because of this, it’s important to get the right amount of sun exposure during the day to ‘fix’ your body clock and sleep well.

Alzheimer’s Disease

When most people hear of Alzheimer’s disease, they think of fading memories and mental fatigue. While these are the main effects of Alzheimer’s, there are numerous additional effects such as insomnia, agitation and daytime fatigue.

By improving people’s sleep cycles, daytime sunlight exposure reduces many of the negative effects of Alzheimer’s. People that suffer from Alzheimer’s experience less nighttime wakefulness and higher sleep efficiency with adequate sun exposure.

In addition to this, nighttime wakefulness levels and reduced and deep sleep – the type of sleep that’s most important to daytime alertness and cognitive health – is higher than inpatients who receive little daytime sunlight exposure.

General Illnesses

From influenza to the common cold, exposure to the sun has a significant effect on your body’s ability to fight off a wide range of illnesses. This is primarily due to the high concentration of vitamin D in sunlight, which is vital for the immune system.

10-15 minutes of sun exposure every day is all it takes to give your immune system the power it needs to keep common illnesses at bay. It’s no wonder employers who daylight their workplaces find that their staff have significantly fewer sick days.

If you constantly feel under the weather and seem to fall ill every other month, try spending more time in the sun. An early morning work in sunlight is all it takes to fuel your immune system and fight colds, daytime fatigue and much more.

Image Courtesy of: Balazs Kovacs Images /

Comments are closed.