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Sun Deprivation: Why Lack Of Sunlight Exposure Can Be Bad For You

August 16, 2022

We are used to hearing the ugly side of sun exposure and how it can harm and add years to our skin. This made many of us very conscious in heading out for a walk and sun basking.

What we rarely realize is that the opposite side of the pole can also pose danger to our well-being. Sun deprivation can also wreak havoc on our health.

Sunlight cues special areas in the retina which triggers the brain’s release of the mood-lifting chemical serotonin. Serotonin is a natural mood stabilizer. It is associated with happiness, focus and calmness.

Ultimately, serotonin plays a key role in many body functions including sleep, digestion, wound healing and disease prevention.

In the right amount and balance, sunlight is generally essential for human life. Without enough sun exposure, your serotonin levels can go off, and so do many of your bodily functions.

Here are 4 dangers of sun deprivation you should watch out for.


1. Sun deprivation can increase your risk of depression.


In the coldest and darkest months, cooler temperatures can also bring on gloomy moods. This explains the increased prevalence of cabin fever, winter blues and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) on months with less sunny days.

For a very long time, the lack of sun exposure has been believed to play a role in serotonin deficiency which ultimately lead to mood dysregulation and depressive symptoms.

Apparently, when you give your skin access to a healthy dose of sun rays, you are also giving your mental health a favor.


2. Sun deprivation can disrupt your sleep-wake cycle.


Sunlight aids in the production of the hormones serotonin and melatonin which together, regulate our sleep-wake cycles and keep us on a consistent schedule. Serotonin is produced by the body to help wake us up in the morning while melatonin helps us to fall asleep in the evening.

Interestingly, serotonin is the precursor of melatonin — it gets converted to melatonin in darkness. Lack of sunlight exposure can precipitate the deficiency of these two hormones and throw our sleep-wake cycles off.


3. Sun deprivation can impair your energy and productivity.


Did you know that getting a constant boost of serotonin from sunlight can also boost your performance? High levels of serotonin have been shown to improve cognitive abilities including memory, focus, and learning speed.

On the contrary, a crash in your serotonin levels can make you feel tired and lethargic. Moreover, lack of sunlight, overtime can contribute to vitamin D deficiency which is notorious for causing fatigue.

With too little sun exposure, your serotonin and vitamin D levels can hit rock bottom, making it hard to focus and get much done on your to-do list.


4. Sun deprivation can weaken your immune function.


We mentioned earlier how lack of sunlight can cause sleep disruption. Evidently, insufficient amounts of sleep can affect your immune system.

In addition, vitamin D deficiency can also hurt your immunity. When lack of sunlight keeps us away from sleeping sufficiently and getting adequate vitamin D, our immunity can suffer and make us susceptible to diseases and infections.



Many of us make the mistake of thinking that it is only too much sunlight exposure that can cause us trouble. The truth is, so does too little of it. So get a good hat, sunglasses and sunblock and stop with the excuses. Just hit the outdoors for a bit and let the sun do its thing!

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