What sunbathing means & their benefits

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With so much talk about seeking shade and wearing SPF — even on cloudy days and in winter

 it can be hard to believe that exposure to the sun, in small doses, can be beneficial.

Sunbathing, which is the act of sitting or lying in the sun, sometimes with the intent to tan, may have some health benefits if done properly.

There’s a major difference, to be sure, between going outside for 10 minutes without sunscreen and regularly spending time in a tanning bed.

The risks of too much sun exposure are well-documented. Spending time in the sun without SPF is one cause of melanomaTrusted Source, among other conditions.

However, high doses of vitamin D — when exposed to sunlight, our skin turns cholesterol to vitamin D 

have been shown to help prevent certain common ailments and diseases.

Sunbathing benefits

Reduced depression. Fewer symptoms of depression may be reported afters spending time in the sun.

Better sleep. Sunbathing can help regulate your circadian rhythm, and your body will start to get reliably drowsy when the sun goes down.

Stronger bones. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which leads to stronger bones and may help to prevent osteoporosis and arthritis.

Boosted immune system. Vitamin D helps the body fight diseases, including heart diseaseTrusted Source, muscle sclerosisTrusted Source, and certain autoimmune diseases and cancerTrusted Source.

Lowered preterm labor risk. Vitamin D can protect against preterm labor and infections associated with birth.