The Sun and SerotoninAs summer approaches, some individuals find themselves drawn to the warmth and brightness of the sun. Evidence suggests that sunlight can play a role in our mood and overall well-being. Here we will explore the science behind sunlight and explore the ways that it can affect mental health.

Exposure to sunlight triggers a response in the skin that produces vitamin D which plays a crucial role in mood regulation and has been linked to the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is known for its regulatory functions within the body as well as its effects on an individual’s mood. Increases in serotonin levels in the brain can help improve mood, reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, and promote feelings of well-being. Evidence suggests that sunlight can improve one’s mood due to its connection to the production of serotonin.

Exposure to natural light, which often is increased in the Summer, regulates our circadian rhythm. One’s circadian rhythm is a biological clock that controls each individual’s sleep and wake cycle. If this rhythm were to be interrupted there could be consequences such as sleep disorders and mood disturbances. Exposing oneself to sunlight can help regulate one’s circadian rhythm, improving sleep quality and mental health overall. Therefore, exposure to sun could contribute to the improvement of mood and prevention of sleep disorders.

Some individuals experience a form of depression that arises in different seasonal contexts which is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD often occurs during months that are colder and darker, and sunlight could be an effective method of improving one’s mood, ideally, decreasing depression symptoms. It is important, however, to consider that SAD and depression can still occur during summer months. If you or a loved on are experiencing notable depression symptoms, it is important to also seek professional help.

Sunlight has many benefits to offer, however, it is important to remember that too much sunlight can be harmful. It is important to protect your skin from the UV of the sun by wearing sunscreen, seeking shade at peak hours, and remaining responsible about your time in the sun.

We can observe a connection between sunlight and mood, and by understanding the science behind sunlight’s effect on our mental health, we can use this natural resource to our advantage in order to enhance our well-being.

This summer, embrace the sun and observe if you reap the mood-boosting benefits it can offer. Always remember to prioritize sun safety while enjoying the positive effects of sunlight on your mental health. If you or someone you know have questions about medications and wish to schedule an appointment with our provider, please contact Eastside TMS and Wellness Center at 425-919-6826.

Eastside TMS and Wellness Center does offer an alternative to medications; we also treat patients using TMS therapy. If you would like to know more information about TMS therapy, contact us or use the phone number above.