JUN 18, 2017 10:50 AM PDT

How Long Can You Live Without Sunlight?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

We've all been warned about the harmful link between the sun's ultraviolet radiation and skin cancer. But did you know that avoiding the sun completely could bring a different source of health problems?

Lack of sunlight is directly linked with vitamin D deficiency. Sunlight is a critical component in the synthesis of vitamin D, which is vital in helping the body absorb calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. Prolonged vitamin D deficiency can make children especially prone to rickets, a disorder characterized by weak bones and teeth.

In addition, lack of sunlight could cause other issues related to the body's circadian rhythm. All animals have a built-in circadian rhythm - a biological cycle that responds to environmental stimuli. One of the most important cues that affects the circadian rhythm is daylight. Light stimulates the release of hormones and metabolites that makes us more alert and reactive, increasing our energy and muscle strength. By contrast, darkness stimulates hormones, such as melatonin, that makes us tired and sleepy. Studies have shown that when this cycle is disrupted, people can experience alterations in their mood, cognition, along with a host of metabolic processes.

Watch the video to learn why a healthy dose of sunlight can give a boost to your mood and health.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
OCT 22, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why Do Galaxies Come in Different Shapes?
OCT 22, 2020
Why Do Galaxies Come in Different Shapes?
When looking it galaxies, it takes little to realize that they come in different shapes- whether they're swirling bl ...
NOV 18, 2020
Plants & Animals
This Bat Species Uses Masks for Mating
NOV 18, 2020
This Bat Species Uses Masks for Mating
From pandemic precautions to televised talent shows, masks are having a moment. Even this bizarre bat species has a buil ...
JAN 21, 2021
Plants & Animals
Western Monarch Migration Near Extinction
JAN 21, 2021
Western Monarch Migration Near Extinction
Earlier this week, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation reported that the western monarch butterfly populati ...
MAR 05, 2021
Plants & Animals
Scientists Heal Diseased Corals
MAR 05, 2021
Scientists Heal Diseased Corals
The world's coral reefs face numerous threats, including climate change, pollution, and habitat loss. Since 2014, an ...
MAR 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Find Tectonic Activity on Exoplanet
MAR 06, 2021
Astronomers Find Tectonic Activity on Exoplanet
For the first time, researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland have found evidence of tectonic activity on a ...
JUL 16, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Melting Mountain Glaciers in Asia Release Greenhouse Gas
JUL 16, 2021
Melting Mountain Glaciers in Asia Release Greenhouse Gas
High mountain glaciers that are melting in the Tibetan plateau in Asia contain greenhouse gases and should be counted in ...
Loading Comments...