As seasons change and Summer fades to Fall and Winter, temperatures drop and a lack of sunlight and abundance of darkness emerges. The increased exposure to darkness and lack of exposure to sunlight has many risks including increased rates of depression, seasonal affective disorder, anxiety, sleep problems and changes in appetite. Sunlight exposure is imperative for optimal health and wellness. Sunlight/vitamin D therapy can be beneficial to the negative effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder, depression, sleep disorders, and other conditions.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SUNLIGHT/VITAMIN D THERAPY?
Sunlight exposure carries many benefits largely due to Vitamin D. Vitamin D is responsible for the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and regulating the immune system. Getting a sufficient amount of Vitamin D is important for healthy growth and development and resistance to various diseases. Sunlight exposure also contributes to the release of neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin. Some benefits of sunlight exposure can include:
- Improves energy: Sunlight exposure impacts how much melatonin the brain produces. Increased sunlight in the summer and spring months allows one to feel more awake, feel less lethargic and have better sleep.
- Enhances mood: Sunlight exposure impacts the levels of serotonin in the brain. Increased exposure to sunlight is associated with improved mood, decreased anxiety and enhanced focus. Research has demonstrated the highest levels of serotonin during the summer months.
- Alleviates Stress: Exposure to sunlight during outdoor activities such as walking the dog, running or going on a picnic outside can reduce stress and tension.
Recent research studies have demonstrated that underexposure to sunlight can lead to significant risks and health concerns. According to Unity Point Health, sunshine should be enjoyed in moderation to avoid sunburn, heatstroke rashes, heat exhaustion, wrinkles and the risk for cancer.
If you or your loved one is interested in learning more about the benefits of sunlight exposure or Vitamin D, please contact Harmony Bay Wellness. Our staff is educated and knowledgeable in various alternative therapy approaches, including sunlight exposure!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUNLIGHT AND LIGHT THERAPY?
Light therapy is exposure to light that is brighter than indoor lights, but not as bright as direct sunlight. Light therapy often involves sitting next to a light therapy box that mimics natural outdoor light. UV-free light enters your eyes indirectly, it is important that you don’t look directly at the light. Your eyes must be open for the therapy to work, you cannot merely expose your skin to the light. You can read, write, work on your computer, watch tv, talk on the phone, or any number of other activities while exposing yourself to light therapy.
Light therapy may be most effective first thing in the morning when you wake up. You can work with your doctor or therapist to determine the best time of day and length of light therapy that works best for you. Consistency and sticking to your prescribed light therapy schedule is important. Unlike sunlight therapy, light therapy does not expose you to Vitamin D. Harmony Bay Wellness caring experts design sunlight/vitamin D therapy in NJ for each individual’s needs.
According to the Harvard Health Publishing, “If lack of sunlight causes or contributes to seasonal affective disorder, then getting more light may reverse it. Bright light works by stimulating cells in the retina that connect to the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that helps control circadian rhythms. Activating the hypothalamus at a certain time every day can restore a normal circadian rhythm and thus banish seasonal symptoms.”
HOW IS SUNLIGHT/VITAMIN D THERAPY USED AT HARMONY BAY WELLNESS?
Harmony Bay Wellness prioritizes individualized and integrative care to achieve optimal health and wellness. Our staff may encourage outdoor activities or hobbies outside of therapy sessions to aid in achieving your goals. Individual and group therapy sessions may be considered to take place outside, with client and staff discretion, to increase sunlight exposure, aid in focus and decrease stress. Sunlight exposure is particularly important in treating various mental and emotional health concerns including Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
If sunlight exposure is not an option, light therapy may be explored.
WHAT OTHER THERAPEUTIC SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE AT HARMONY BAY WELLNESS?
Located in southern New Jersey, Harmony Bay Wellness offers individualized treatment that brings you back to your inner spirit, a healthier mindset and physical wellness. Additional NJ mental health treatment services offered at Harmony Bay Wellness include:
- Telehealth services
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Psychiatric evaluations in NJ
- Mental health therapy services for various conditions