Why You Belong In Nature
More than half of all American adults spend less than 5 hours outside each week. Yet 40 million adults in America have anxiety. Coincidence? It’s no surprise that we’re meant to be outdoors. Our brains are even affected by nature. In a Standford University study, researchers scanned the brains of those who walked in nature and found they had reduced the risk of having depression.
Not only are we a nation struggling with sleep, but we’re dependent on sleeping pills. Instead of relying on sleeping pills, just get some sun. Unlike sleeping pills, sunlight resets your biological clock, or circadian rhythm. Depending on if light is present or not, your circadian rhythm either boosts your energy or makes you sleepy. Since you’re outside, your circadian rhythm will pick up on the blue light, so it will know it’s daytime and will produce chemicals to make you energized. On the other hand, if it’s dark outside, the circadian rhythm will release chemicals that make you tired.
Next time you’re sick, go outside! That’s because plants produce a chemical, called phytoncides, to deter bugs. When humans breathe in phytoncides, we react by releasing more natural killer cells, which kills viruses. 4
Since sunlight happens to help you sleep, you’ll already feel better. However, the sun causes us to produce serotonin, a chemical that makes us feel happy. It’s known that if you don’t get enough sunlight, you run the risk of developing seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Ironically, people who suffer from SAD are often down in the dumps, because they lack serotonin from the sun. 5
Sure, some foods are anti-inflammatory, but did you know that sunlight is too? It turns out that sunlight offers UVB, a spectrum of sunlight. UVB helps prevent heart disease and can treat skin disease, like eczema. 6