Everyone knows that sunshine has a big impact on mood and overall well-being. But, new studies show that it also affects how we think and make decisions. Surprising findings from the University of Alabama at Birmingham found that people were almost three times as likely to have impaired cognition after gloomy weather compared to those exposed to sunshine.
A report published in 2006 used functional MRIs to look at the effects of broad spectrum light – which is similar to daylight. The researchers found that as soon as people were exposed to bright light, brain activity sparked more strongly. When the light was taken away, brains became less energized.
While the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a major cause of skin cancer, even more recent research suggests that beyond boosting the production of vitamin D and serotonin, it also enhances learning and memory. A study published in March (2019) reported that, in mice, exposure to UV light activates a molecular pathway that increases production of the brain chemical glutamate, heightening the animals’ ability to learn and remember.
So, get some sunshine today and give your brain a boost!