Getting Sun

This post is about Vitamin D.

Did you know that many people are deficient in Vitamin D?

After a generation of Baby Boomers battled skin cancer, there was a backlash in the other direction: people stopped going in the sun completely. One of these people is my father in law, Jim, a decent man who owns a carpet cleaning San Antonio institution. He was thrilled that he found a job that allowed him to stay inside all day and avoid the occupational hazard that faced his father, my kids’ late Grandpa Phil who did Weston FL landscaping and had skin cancer in three places. He actually had to have a chunk of his nose removed, poor guy.

Jim and his generation started:

  • Covering up
    • This means long sleeves, sarongs, hats, sunglasses and beach umbrellas
  • Wearing sunscreen
    • Not only for hot days at the beach, but EVERY DAY. Notice how most beauty products have at least SPF 15? You can’t avoid it even if you try!
  • Avoiding the sun
    • No more afternoon walks! “Let’s wait ’til after peak sunburn hours,” I often heard people say.
  • Taking vitamins and thinking thats a good substitute.

All of this behavior lead to many people with osteoporosis and other health problems.

Not getting enough sun is not the only problem

Spending some time in the sun on a regular basis is vital to good health and happiness. Studies have shown that SAD, or “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” is a real condition. Sufferers find relief from their symptoms of anxiety and depression by sitting under a light the emits UV Rays.

The Poison and the Medicine

Sun in small doses allows for our body to stay healthy and strong. Now here is an important piece of information:

After you’ve been in the sun and it has worked its magic upon your body, DO NOT JUMP IN THE SHOWER! That’s right. Let that sweaty goodness soak in. Vitamin D forms on the surface of your skin and then needs to be reabsorbed into your body. Allow for a good 45 minutes to an hour to elapse after you get your precious ultra-violet exposure before rising. Being sweaty isn’t the worst thing in the world; you might attract some new friends with your powerful pheromones in the bargain!

A personal story:

My father in law was one of those people who avoided the sun like the plague. His parents both had skin cancer, so they were vigilant that their son not follow in their footsteps. When he began to get sick as an adult, he never imagined that it was something as simple as needing to get his tan on.

He still feels strange about going out in the sun after a lifetime of paranoia, but he takes that time like its a vitamin. His exposure hasn’t completely undone the damage of those years of being Vitamin-D malnourished, but he has noticed an improvement in his mood, digestion and sleep pattern.

Sleep and Sun 

Most people have heard of melatonin- its the ingredient in our skin that determines how light or dark it is n color. People with darker skin have more of it, and people with lighter skin have less. Many people don’t know about the connection between melatonin and sleep!

Melatonin is prescribed as a supplement to help people relax into shuteye. Why does this help? It’s probably because they aren’t getting enough sun during the day, and so their body can’t fully relax at night. Whatever the reason, this supplement helps many people fall asleep.

My proposal is that getting a few minutes of sunshine a day- and not washing it off prematurely- will keep you young, healthy, and allow for better beauty sleep.

Lesson of the day:

Get outside and play!