Why a tan makes you feel good

Small business owners’ work very hard and I am no exception.  It’s July now, and my thoughts are turning to holidays.  Just what is it about a holiday in the sun that recharges our batteries ?

Whether you use souped-up SPF lotion like me or not, there’s no denying a week or two in the sun helps us wind down and gives us a sense of wellbeing.

Most people know about the link between the sun and Vitamin D.  Exposure to the sun (and tanning) releases endorphins.  These in turn help us synthesise Vitamin D.

It’s the endorphins that are believed to create a sense of wellbeing.  These are produced within the central nervous system and are believed to be triggered by certain types of activity which produce a relaxed response.  These include tanning of course.  Other activities and conditions linked to endorphin production include acupuncture, eating dark chocolate and sex.

Our bodies are designed to get vitamin D from exposure to the sun.  In northern countries such as ours it’s harder to guarantee we all have enough vitamin D throughout the year.  Vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to everything from advanced cancers to thyroid problems to MS as well as the more well-known problems with bone development. Just out of interest, the Orkney Islands, according to one study, have the world’s highest rate of MS.

When you look at it this way, our compulsion to tan could be bound up with self-preservation.  Not everyone agrees with current advice from cancer information groups to minimise exposure to direct sunlight.  However, taking some simple steps, ensuring you don’t get sunburn for example, dramatically reduces the risk of developing melanoma.

Me ? I love the sun.  With a reputation for being a workaholic, I’ll take my two weeks of sun please.  Not without my back lotion applicator of courseDescription: ) !

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