As human beings, we require a certain amount of exposure to sunlight. According to WebMD, 4 out of 10 people are vitamin D-deficient. However, to reap the full benefits of UV light, it’s important to understand how UV light affects our bodies and our health.
The long-term effects of exposure to these rays may not be as well-known as their immediate impact on skin health. This article will go through many surprising ways that UV rays can have an impact on your daily life and explain how to protect yourself from overexposure.
Benefits of UV Rays
You might think that UV exposure poses only a risk to your skin, but in reality, it also offers several benefits. It's important to know the risks of UV exposure, but it's also essential to understand the benefits before concluding that UV rays are nothing more than bad news.
Vitamin D Production
In addition to the widely known risks of UV exposure, receiving a moderate amount of UV radiation can offer several health benefits. One example is that vitamin D synthesis, which improves bone and immune system health, is activated by UV radiation.
There are numerous reasons that vitamin D is so important for the human body, but here are some of the most important ones:
Strengthens the immune system;
Helps fight depression;
Lowers the risk of asthma attacks and other respiratory diseases;
Combats digestive tract disorders such as Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis;
Lowers the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation in arteries.
UV radiation exposure was found to have a positive effect on mood in many cases, and for this reason, it is believed that it can reduce the severity of depression symptoms as well. This is likely because UV rays activate vitamin D synthesis in the body, which can, in turn, improve mood.
It’s no secret that we need vitamin D to live — but did you know that the UV exposure necessary for optimal vitamin D production also increases overall energy levels? Vitamin D can promote increased energy, as it:
Improves Calcium Absorption: Vitamin D can greatly reduce the amount of energy used by the body during digestion by improving calcium absorption from food. This keeps your overall reserve of energy higher.
Improves Sleep Quality: Lack of vitamin D has been linked to poor sleep quality. When you’re exposed to UV rays, it begins the process of vitamin D synthesis in your body. With more vitamin D in your system, you’ll find that your sleep is more efficient and restful.
Enhances Your Mood: As mentioned before, enhanced vitamin D production leads to a better mood. It reduces depression, enhances creativity, and often leads to a higher level of energy.
Harmful Effects of UV Rays
Unfortunately, too much exposure to ultraviolet light can harm your skin, eyes, and even your immune system. Some of the most common risks associated with prolonged exposure include:
The eye is one of the most delicate organs in the body, yet one of the most resilient. The eyes, however, aren’t completely immune to external dangers.
While many environmental factors can damage your eye over time, exposure to UV rays is one of the leading causes of permanent vision loss.
UV rays are dangerous because they can prematurely age (or harm) cells on a molecular level, and this affects all structures in your eye.
One of the worst things that can happen after prolonged exposure to UV rays is the development of cataracts, which affects more than 24.4 million Americans and causes their vision to deteriorate rapidly and irreversibly.
Another possibility is the development of macular degeneration. UV rays can cause oxidative damage to your retina, which often eventually leads to macular degeneration.
Prolonged exposure to UV rays can damage furniture by causing different chemicals to break down in different ways.
For example, in many types of furniture, there may be dye molecules that are sensitive to the effects of ultraviolet light (either natural or artificial). These dyes may react with other chemicals in the material and can change their properties.
In addition to changing color, this process also can reduce the strength of the material. If material is weakened, it may become more susceptible to breakage or chipping.
The most commonly cited effect of UV light on furniture, however, is the fading of the original color. Many types of dyes used in home furnishings are sensitive to the damaging effects of UV light.
When you think of environmental damage, three things probably come to mind; degradation of the ozone layer, pollution, and global warming. But UV radiation can cause immense environmental devastation in its own right.
UV rays have been known to decrease the rate of photosynthesis in aquatic ecosystems and remove essential nutrients from organisms living in freshwater streams.
Such biologically destructive consequences can have widespread effects, such as reducing our food supply and negatively impacting the environment in which we live.
Protecting Your Home from UV Rays
It’s not always easy to know when and how to start protecting yourself from UV rays. Luckily, we're here to walk you through exactly how you can protect your family and home by taking certain preventative measures.
Cover Your Furniture
The sun's UV rays can damage the furniture in your home, causing it to become worn and discolored. Using furniture covers for your indoor furniture during the day will help it maintain its original color.
More importantly, it will also prevent accidental sun bleaching because UV rays will be unable to penetrate the fabric of the cover.
Replace Your Windows
Thanks to advances in window technology, there are options available that can help limit your home’s exposure to potentially harmful UV rays. Installing a window film or upgrading your windows to Low-E are effective ways to protect your home from the sun's rays.
You can also replace your windows with double-pane windows to help reduce the number of UV rays that get through. Double panes have two full windows inside them, rather than just one. The most common is called a "thermal" pane, which helps insulate against extreme temperatures in the winter or summer.
If your home has suffered from prolonged exposure to UV rays, installing window shades for UV protection can be a great idea. Shades are also a great way to prep your windows for the summer as it gets hotter for longer The best window shades will block 80% or more of the UVA and UVB rays while still allowing enough light to permeate the house during daylight hours.
UV-filtered window shades can also help you save more on your electric bill since they are designed to help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
Window films are special films that are applied to window panes. They can prevent furniture damage, lower your energy costs, and reduce the UV rays that enter your home by up to 90%.
Window films are made up of three main components: adhesive, coating, and the film itself. The adhesive is used to stick the coating to your windows and is what fastens the film to your window.
Trees and Shrubs
Since the dawn of mankind, every being on Earth has found shelter from the hot sun under the natural protection of trees and shrubs. Trees and shrubs can be planted near any windows that face the sun, providing a natural canopy to block out UV rays and protecting you from potentially damaging sunlight.
Healthy, colorful plants like trees and shrubs can provide a natural defense against the sun’s harmful rays. They also look great when added to the exterior of a home, so they might be worth considering for that purpose as well!
Protect Your Home
Creating a safe environment for young children requires vigilance and planning. Updating your home with childproof locks on cabinets, windows, and doors is a terrific way to reduce the risk of accidents. If you have windows, mirrors, or glass doors that are outdated and need to be replaced or repaired, contact the glass professionals at your local Glass Doctor. We can help update, replace, and repair the glass in your home. To learn more, call 833-974-0209 or schedule an appointment online today.