With the last few weeks seemingly seeing the sun a consistent presence here in Yorkshire and the rest of the UK, many of us may have noticed an uplift in our mood. Lots of us have been encouraged to venture outdoors and enjoy the sunshine during our lunch breaks, leaving us energised for the rest of the day. All of this positivity has left us at HealthBid HQ feeling inquisitive, and so in this blog post, we have investigated the science behind such summertime cheer.
Sunshine and the Brain
Scientists have discovered that sunlight is linked to serotonin – a chemical in the brain which is connected with good mood. Several anti-depressants such as SSRIs – Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – are prescribed for individuals with depression to enhance their serotonin levels exactly due to this reason. An Australian study has found that levels of serotonin are higher during sunnier days in comparison to cloudier periods – regardless of the temperature outside.
Also linked to general wellbeing is the level of Vitamin D in the body. Various studies have remarked on the presence of low Vitamin D levels in individuals suffering from depression. Moreover, a deficiency in this important vitamin is connected to obesity, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
It is arguable that a sunny day encourages people to become more active - whether it be taking a short walk during our lunch hour or the more ambitious Three Peak Challenge. Research has linked such exercise to endorphin release - a mood-improving hormone - and so it seems that the weather's association with improved mood is multifaceted.
It seems that the sun’s rays, and the proactivity it encourages, certainly has a positive effect on our general wellbeing. Here’s hoping our current run of warm weather continues and the long-awaited British Summer materialises!
Image C/O Tom Sheppard