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Sunshine scientifically proven to cause smiles

By Haley Sites
On April 17, 2014

Being like Natasha Bedingfield and having a "Pocket Full of Sunshine," aspiring to be like Sheryl Crow and "Soak Up the Sun" or throwing it back with Katrina and The Waves and "Walking on Sunshine" may be something everyone desires at this point in the year.
Since the first day of sunshine this spring, UW-La Crosse has seemed like a whole new campus. People are long-boarding everywhere, falling on rollerblades and holding ice cream cones. And what has caused this burst of energy in the Eagles? Sunshine may be the best answer.
A few residents of Sanford Hall eagerly raised their hand when asked if they agreed that sunshine was the cause of their increased smiles and laughter. While being outside and active may be a reason, there actually are scientific facts that go along with sunshine making people happy.
The most obvious factor that goes along with sunlight is vitamin D. Vitamin D not only helps with bone strength, it is known to help prevent low calcium, boost the immune system and more.
Young adults ages 15-25 are recommended to receive 5,000 IU per day, or 15 micrograms. It is not common to use that measurement; so just being outside for an hour or so a few times a week can give someone the recommended dose of vitamin D. Even walking to class across campus can be enough.
Sunshine and summertime also brings an end to what is known as seasonal depression. When people go through a Wisconsin winter with a lack of sun, it is common to become sad or lack energy. When the sun comes out, people become more energized, happy and motivated.
However, maintaining this motivation through finals can be a struggle. While the volleyball courts and the beach are definitely taunting, using the sun to, instead, study outside or get rid of some extra energy with a quick run to the river can be great things.
College students are notorious for pulling all-nighters, surviving off of little to no sleep and somehow pulling it off. But what if someone were to say that sunlight gives one the same boost that caffeine does? No withdrawals, and completely natural without negative side effects?
There have been a lot of studies lately that are looking at nutrients that have similar effects to what is desired with caffeine, and sunlight is one of them. No wonder Greek and European gods have been worshipping the sun in some form or another since the beginning of time. They needed to find a way to stay awake without Starbucks to build the Coliseum and the pyramids. Although coffee has been around since the 14th century, the sun has been around longer. And yes, there are ways that sun can keep people up all night without inducing horrible sunburn and requiring constant aloe re-application.
The sun and iTunes playlists have been creating an optimistic and fun atmosphere on campus. Take part and receive some vitamin D.


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