Monday, March 31, 2008

Be A Sun Goddess

The other day I took the A train out to Far Rockaway Beach. I hadn’t been out there in years, but weeks of dark, gray, cold and wet NYC weather had me feeling down. I was craving the sun and ocean - a combination that always relaxes and lifts my spirit.

There were few people out on the boardwalk and the beach when I got there. The slate gray sea pounded the taupe colored sand with waves that shimmered silver. The sun danced against an incredible robin’s nest blue sky - baby powder blue with a tinge of turquoise. I did some cleansing breaths to take in the negative ions that I knew would refresh me.

Negative ions are electronically charged particles that remove airborne contaminates from the air we breathe. It is these ions which have a rejuvenating effect when you are near a waterfall, in the mountains or the beach. I was doubly blessed that day because I was getting a dose of much needed sunlight and the effects of the ocean.

Today we live like the cave people we often joke about. We seem to always be indoors, whether it’s in our offices or at home, sitting in front of a computer or television. Sunlight is a premium in this city. Those of us who live in Manhattan get even less sunlight due to the highrises that function as our offices and homes, but also cut off our sun exposure.

Our ancestor’s bodies rose and set in sync with the sun, yet, we set our alarm clocks to get up and we go about our days in dimly lit offices and homes. The average sunny day has about 70,000 lux of light. Most homes and offices only have on average 200-400 lux of light. We seldom take the time to get the much needed sunlight that we need. Sunlight makes our hearts beat faster, increases our metabolic rate and alertness, helps us sleep at night, and improves our mood. It also infuses us with Vitamin D.

Because of our so-called modern life style, we also have low levels of Vitamin D. Sunlight gives us Vitamin D, which in turn stimulates the production of serotonin – the feel good hormone. Women of color are more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D, because the darker skinned we are the more slowly we create Vitamin D.

The amount of Vitamin D a light-skinned person produces in 20 minutes takes a dark skin person two hours for the same amount. Getting more sunlight can also be an appetite suppressant. Women who walk every day eat less carbs, according to several studies.

Perhaps we can get more sunlight in practical ways:Go for walks five or more times a week
Walk near a body of water (when possible) on darker days
Use a transparent umbrella on days it rains and snows
Rearrange work furniture to be closer to a window
Take a Vitamin D supplement (200 to 600 mg a day, depending on your age)
Open blinds and curtains in the daytime
Remove overhanging valances on your windows at home
Paint walls a brighter color
Bring lighting fixtures, brighter bulbs, or a light box to work
Switch to subcompact fluorescent bulbs
Wear lightly tinted or clear sunglasses for UV protection
Place large mirrors around your home to reflect more light

Benefits of more sunlight: Improvement in mood
Increased circulation to the brain
Boost your energy
Curb carbohydrate cravings
Control of appetite in general
Deepens your sleep

Source:When Your Body Get The BluesMarie-Annette Brown, Ph.D., R.N. and Jo Robinson

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