Mental illness is on the rise, there is no denying that. With the state of the world over the last few years, we are all in a different place than we were a few years ago.
Mental health is an extremely multi-faceted part of our health and dictates so many other parts of our health. For instance, if we are struggling with anxiety, our gut health is most likely going to be effected the most. So it’s so important that we understand different ways we can positively assist our mental health.
I’m sure we all know our lifestyle, level of stress, friends and family and diet have a direct impact on our mental health. But what about the sun? Have you ever thought about how the sun might be directly impacting your mental health? Well, if not, then I am here to talk to you about it.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “winter blues.” Well, there have been many studies that show how the sun dictates our mental health. It all starts with our circadian rhythm and sleep.
The Importance of a well functioning circadian rhythm
Our circadian rhythm is controlled by light. When we wake in the morning, and the sun is up, our body is able to register that it is daytime, it is time to wake up and get on with the day. Then as the sun starts to set, our brains are sent the message that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. This is our circadian rhythm.
However, due to the modern-day and the use of electronics & florescent lighting, we instead just turn on all of our house lights when the sun goes down & when we wake up during the night, we might look at our phones. Hence, many of us have an extremely confused circadian rhythm. Our bodies have no clue when it is day and when it is night, hence it doesn’t know when to produce essential hormones like melatonin that make us to go sleep. We end up being super tired during the day, and buzzing at night.
When we are able to sleep correctly, our mental health will improve immensely, let alone the insane positive effects of having a perfectly functioning circadian rhythm. When our circadian rhythm is efficiently working, our brains will be able to regulate the production of particular neurotransmitters, directly positively impacting our mental health.
Neurotransmitters and sunlight
The production of particular neurotransmitters and hormones relies on light. People who don’t get much daylight will produce less melatonin.
Even if we are just looking at what Australians have gone through in the past few years, from the pandemic, bush fires, floods and this never-ending wet season, it is clear that none of us have been getting enough sunlight on a daily basis.
If this sounds like you: you are tired in the day, buzzing at night and your mental health is struggling, then, we are here to help and support you.
- Looking up at the sun when you first wake up. Try not to look at your phone the first thing in the morning, instead go outside and feel the sun on your skin. Natural sunlight is a powerful vitamin, more than anything you can find in a health store.
- Wear blue light blocking glasses when looking at screens or blue light.
- Use Red Light Therapy 1-3 times per week or aim to spend minimum 15 minutes in direct sunlight every day .
- Don’t turn on all of your house lights at night, dim them or use a gentle lamp. You could alternatively purchase blue light blocking globes.
Often, sunlight is the best supplement you can take. But if you are struggling to get sunlight exposure due to work schedules, the weather or your current lifestyle, then have a look into getting a pack of Red Light Therapy sessions at TSAVO Wellness.
For mental health purposes, we would recommend doing 2-3 Red Light Sessions a week along with following the above recommendations.
Contact us today if you feel like your mental health needs some support and we can see what we can do for you.