A healthy dose of sunshine can help with pain control. Research shows that patients whose beds are on a sunny side of a hospital experience less pain than those whose rooms are in the shade. As well as reduced pain, patients in sunny rooms tend to recover sooner, use fewer painkillers and feel less stressed. One theory is that exposure to sunlight releases serotonin: a feel-good chemical in the brain.
Whether sick or healthy, light definitely affects your mood. According to research, one in four people in Alaska suffers from depression – and it’s mainly caused by a lack of sunlight.
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, increases in higher latitudes where the winter days are short. Light therapy, where you sit close to a device called a light therapy box, can be used to treat SAD. Light therapy can also help treat those who have depression all year round, improving their overall well-being.
Scientists have also discovered that light therapy can lower nighttime agitation in Alzheimer’s patients and reduce symptoms in Parkinson’s patients, including sleeping problems and tremors.