How To Use The Sun
Last post, I explained nine benefits from getting more sunshine and naturally boosting your vitamin D levels. In today’s post, I’m going to describe how and when to get sun, my experiences and tips, and a few potential caveats to keep in mind.
How to Increase Sun Tolerance
For me, growing up in Florida near the beach meant I had lots of opportunities as a kid to go out in the sun through sailing and surfing. However, in adulthood, I had to spend a lot more time indoors and lost my sun tolerance and its many benefits.
Here is the way I was able to raise my Vitamin D levels and increase my sun tolerance:
- First, I started with fifteen to thirty minutes at sunrise. This helps wake me up and stimulate my hormones to get my day off to a powerful start.
- Next, I go out into the sun again during the solar noon (using Dminder - iPhone / Android). The solar noon is when the sun is at its highest in your particular location.
- Finally, do this every day or every other day and make sure you allow your body time to rest and begin to produce more melanin in your skin (aka, getting a tan!)
Here are some other tips and things to keep in mind:
- Try to be as naked as possible. Avoid sunscreen or makeup because the more skin exposed the better.
- I recommend using the app Dminder. It’s a great tool for tracking the solar noon in your location, measure how much Vitamin D you’re producing, and letting you know how much sun time you need based on how dark your skin has become. If you can’t download the app, you can also find when the solar noon time in your home is with the NOAA’s calculator (it can also tell you what time the sunrise is).
- If you can’t get sun, get a UVB lamp to use at least 15 minutes a day (build up and block eyes) on various parts of your body.
- Just as the sun is great for waking you up, getting too much light at night can cause insomnia so make sure to wear blue-light blocking glasses to minimize light at night.
- Avoid sunscreen! In addition to blocking out many of the benefits of the sun's rays, many sunscreens contain harmful chemicals that can lead to obesity, diabetes, dysregulated hormones, cancer, and infertility. If you are still concerned about sunburn while you build up tolerance, I recommend nicotinamide riboside and astaxanthin pills or using a zinc oxide sunscreen since it has the fewest negative effects.
- Always remember to stay hydrated and drink lots of water!
A Few Caveats to Keep in Mind
Before beginning your journey to sun tolerance, there are few minor drawbacks to be aware of.
- If you have histamine intolerance, you may want to be a little cautious about increased sun exposure. The sun can increase levels of histamine which may make your reactions worse. On the flip side, many sunscreens can also trigger a reaction to histamine so slowly growing up a tolerance to the sun may be beneficial to you in the long term.
- Some studies have shown that spring sunlight can be correlated with the onset of bipolar disorder if your family has a history of the disease. Be aware of your family disease history but remember that many of the benefits of sunlight actually boost mood and decrease depression.
- UV rays from the sun have been shown to deplete carotenoids from human plasma. Carotenoids are important cancer-fighting antioxidants. In order to counteract this, you can supplement your diet with CarotenAll or foods high in carotenoids such as orange-colored foods like squash, carrots, grapefruits, and apricots.
- If you are suffering from an active herpes or mononucleosis (EBV, also called mono or the “kissing disease”) taking vitamin D may exacerbates its effects (when active), but getting sunlight can suppress it.
Remember, the most important thing is patience and building up sun tolerance slowly. As you gain more tolerance to the sun, you’ll begin to experience the ten benefits and be on your way to living healthy every day!
Foods to try:
I have a very comprehensive list of foods in my Sun Diet that you can browse. I’ve got some recipes that both incorporate lots of carotenoids (and other benefits against UV) and will be tasty to snack on as you catch some rays.
So, go out and enjoy some sun! Check out my post about how (part 3) and when to get sun and what you can do to make the most of it. Check out the Facebook discussion our experiences of enjoying the sun’s benefits.
TLDR: Be patient when building up a tolerance to the sun, avoid sunscreen (if you can), and eat lots of foods with carotenoids like carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash.