sun brightness, exposure, and protection.

recommended guidelines for setting circadian rhythms.

getting outdoors in the actual brightness of the sun is crucial for setting circadian rhythms in a positive direction.  this does not necessarily mean direct sun exposure!  it means being in the presence of brightness so that your retinas are getting a bright natural light signal.  when we do this, we are telling our bodies what time of day it is, where the sun is, when to secrete certain hormones, when to be awake, and when to be asleep!

  • every day aim for a cumulative 30 minutes of bright outdoor light exposure.
  • cumulative means it can be spread out over several sessions – a morning walk, a midday lunch break, and afternoon walk.
  • even overcast days count!  because it’s still bright!

 

recommended guidelines for direct sun exposure.

most of us have been brainwashed to believe we need to avoid the sun and always cover up.  we are told that the sun is dangerous.  at the same time we constantly hear the importance of sun exposure for the creation of vitamin D at the level of the skin along with other benefits of direct sun exposure.  what do we make of this confusion?!
we co-evolved with the sun and we need direct exposure from its rays for health.
there’s a difference between regular, direct, moderated, non-burning exposure and burning.

  • we recommend 15 minutes of direct, non-burning sun exposure at least 3 days per week.
  • health benefits from moderated, regular, non-burning sun exposure include reduced cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer disease/dementia, myopia and macular degeneration, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
  • this would also create ideal vitamin D levels between 40–60 ng/mL as measured through 25-OH vitamin D test.
  • there are an infinite number of synergistic health benefits that come along with sun exposure!  physiological, mental, and emotional health!
  • supplementation with vitamin D may be beneficial but it is NOT a replacement for the synergy of health benefits that come from direct, moderated, non-burning sun exposure.

 

protect yourself naturally.

  • moderate your exposure and build up a tolerance naturally.  15 minutes of sun on your arms and legs 3 times per week. if you do this consistently, in no time you’ll have a decent tolerance.
  • embrace walks and brief periods of time outdoors without a hat or other protection.
  • when you’ve reached your 15 minutes, or when you feel your skin getting really warm, get in the shade! and stay in the shade until the next time!
  • consider getting protective clothing.  this is a much better option than putting sunscreen on.  I always carry this shirt in my backpack.  plus there are plenty of options out for long sleeve shirts which is the most important to carry, as well as protective, lightweight pants.

 

if you’re going to do sunscreen, this is the way to go.

EWG is going to be the best resource to find the least toxic sunscreens.

  • use sunscreen when you know you cannot avoid being out in direct sun exposure, or don’t have any clothing options.
  • check out EWG’s Guide to Sunscreens.  here they have comprehensive information on best beach sunscreens, best sports sunscreens, best kids sunscreens, and best moisturizers with SPF.
  • check out their downloadable PDF EWG’s Guide to Safer Sunscreens.

 

resources: