Soak up the sun to boost emotional, mental health: study

Washington, 04 November 2016: Soaking up some sun may help improve your mental and emotional well-being, a new study has claimed. The study by researchers at Brigham Young University in the US found when it comes to mental and emotional health, the amount of time between sunrise and sunset is the weather variable that matters most.



Your day might be filled with irritatingly hot temperatures, thick air pollution and maybe even pockets of rainclouds, but that would not necessarily get you down, researchers said.


If you are able to soak up enough Sun, your level of emotional distress should remain stable, they said.


"Take away sun time, though, and your distress can spike. This applies to the clinical population at large, not just those diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder," said researchers.


"That's one of the surprising pieces of our research," said Mark Beecher, clinical professor and psychologist in BYU Counselling and Psychological Services.


"On a rainy day, or a more polluted day, people assume that they'd have more distress.


But we didn't see that. We looked at solar irradiance, or the amount of sunlight that actually hits the ground. We tried to take into account cloudy days, rainy days, pollution ... but they washed out. The one thing that was really significant was the amount of time between sunrise and sunset," said Beecher.


Researchers noted that therapists should be aware that winter months will be a time of high demand for their services.


With fewer sun time hours, clients will be particularly vulnerable to emotional distress. Preventative measures should be implemented on a case-by-case basis, they said.


The study was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.


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