Preventive health

The Health Benefits of Sunlight

Couple riding bikes

You know about the risks of too much sun exposure — skin cancer, sunburns and wrinkles — but did you know that a little bit of sunshine can make a big difference in improving your overall health? Scientists say spending between 5 to 15 minutes a day outside (up to 30 minutes if you have a darker complexion) is a safe way to get the most out of the sun, without causing potential issues.1 Here's a look at how the sun may be helpful:

Boost Vitamin D levels

Sunlight is responsible for helping your body make Vitamin D. This vitamin helps strengthen your bones, blood cells and immune system, says WebMD.2 Getting about 10 to 30 minutes a day of midday sun a few times a week is the most natural way for your body to get enough Vitamin D, according to Healthline.3

Get more sleep

Our bodies are hyper-alert to the light/dark cycle of the sun. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention4 recommend that getting bright light in the morning can help you fall asleep earlier in the evening. Plus, getting some sunlight in the morning may help you feel more alert for the rest of the day.

Keep weight off

Not only can morning light help you feel more alert, it could also help you shed a few pounds. Getting between 20 and 30 minutes between 8 a.m. and noon is recommended because researchers from the University of Alberta found that the sun’s rays might shrink fat cells below the skin’s surface.5

3 ways to protect yourself from the sun

Here’s how to stay safe when you’re out catching rays:

  1. Go to the dermatologist. You can check your skin for any new skin growths or changes. If you notice anything unusual, you may want to consider seeing a dermatologist. A dermatologist can do a complete exam to check out any areas of concern and provide more tips for sun safety.
  2. Wear sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology6 encourages everyone to use broad-spectrum protection sunscreen that’s SPF 30 or higher and is water resistant.
  3. Protect your eyes. Too much exposure to UV light can increase your risk of eye disease and other problems, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.7 Therefore, the Academy recommends buying a pair of sunglasses that provide 100% UV or UV400 protection or block both UV-A and UV-B rays.



  1. “Sunlight and Your Health,” WebMD, last accessed May 31, 2022,
  2. “Sunlight and Your Health.”
  3. “How to Safely Vitamin D From Sunlight,” Healthline, last accessed May 31, 2022,
  4. “Effects of Light on Circadian Rhythms,” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed May 31, 2022,
  5. “Weight Loss Breakthrough: Sunlight is Key,” Medical News Today, last accessed May 31, 2022,
  6. “Sunscreen FAQs,” American Academy of Dermatology Association, last accessed May 31, 2022,
  7. “The Sun, UV Light and Your Eyes,” The American Academy of Ophthalmology, last accessed May 31, 2022,