Holy apples the sun came out and…

How the heck are ya?!!

If you’ve paid attention to the weather forecast next week, it’s calling for a lot of sunshine! I embrace the rain, but sunshine is a soulmate! 

We all know that sunshine and UV light produce vitamin D in children and adults. While this is healthy and much needed, there is so much more to sunshine and the lives of children. Sunshine exposure makes people happy. It makes most kids happy too! Today, I wanted to share 4 other wonderfully positive sunshine benefits that can give our kids a good jumpstart into the spring. 

  1. Colon Cancers And More
  2. Circadian Rhythm
  3. Depression Weapon
  4. Cognitive Function 

I will start by saying I am not encouraging anyone to overexpose themselves or a loved one to harmful sunlight levels. Common sense should be at the forefront of one’s mind regarding sunburns and the like. Heatstroke is a real thing and should be considered at all costs. With that said, slow, consistent, sustainable exposure to healthy amounts of sunlight has proven to set kids up for success over a long time—success in the form of preventative maintenance regarding a few types of cancer. Colon and pancreatic cancer being high on that list. We all want happy cancer-free sustainable lives for our little creations. Sunshine can play a part in that process. 

That leads us to the Circadian Rhythm. I won’t dive too far into the facts on this one, but it’s a big deal. For those who don’t have time to research:

—The Circadian Rhythm is a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats inside of all humans roughly every 24 hours. 

Exposing our kids to healthy amounts of sunshine releases cortisol and melatonin into the brain and body. The collection of light is received through the eyes. Giving kids a chance to be active and alert is necessary, so when the sun goes down, the brain will trigger a sleep response. Most kids need about 9-10 hours of sleep at night. Newborns don’t have a Circadian Rhythm until 3-4 months old. We have the opportunity as parents to do them a great service by understanding this process and giving it wings. Thus providing our kids a healthy balance of activity and rest. 

Another incredible thing about sunshine is it cues special areas inside the retina to trigger serotonin release. The light is again picked up through the eyes and received through the body. A lack of or loss of sunshine causes serotonin levels to drop in the brain. This is bad news for kids living in the PNW. If your kids are feeling down or lacking emotionally, make sure they get some sun exposure. I realize some are not able to be in direct sunlight. If that’s the case for your family, simply have them sit in a shaded area to protect their skin. The light of the sun will still trigger that serotonin response, and they will have a greater chance of enhancing their mental health. Mental health and emotional stability are the backbones for healthy kids. Activity is great, but it’s hard to push through without a stable mindset. Cognitive function is directly tied to sunshine and mental health. Kids need a strong cognitive function muscle to get through life. Sunshine is the most natural ingredient we can offer them. 

Make some new plans this coming week with your kids. Mix it up. Do something different. Be bold! Go bike riding. Maybe a hike. Explore nature. Go for a cold swim somewhere. Break out the old rollerblades. Shoot some hoops outside in your neighborhood. Take the dog to the dog park. Go fishing. Head to the beach and breath in that ocean air. Fly a kite. Go to an outdoor market. Maybe have lunch at a restaurant outside. Whatever you do, get some sunshine in your life and see what happens!