Benefits of Sunlight for Women's Fertility & Menstrual Health
The Sun brings light that nourishes all of nature and causes it to grow and thrive.
Yet, in recent decades medical warnings to avoid prolonged or extreme sunlight have caused many people to fear the light of the Sun.
However, sunlight is an essential factor in optimizing women's health and wellness with a myriad of benefits including increasing fertility, balancing menstrual cycles, and improving bone and heart health.
It's time to illuminate the healing benefits of conscious sunlight exposure.
#1: Sunlight promotes fertility
Getting sunlight in the morning for an hour helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and increase fertility significantly.
During the morning the sunlight has more high-frequency blue light in the spectrum which helps to set our biological rhythm as well as promote a good mood and increased health.
Women who live in more Northern climates ovulate less in the winter and may have longer menstrual cycles due to delayed ovulation during the darker times of the year.
In summertime, women have increased ovarian follicle size, more frequent ovulations, and higher levels of follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH).
It's especially important to get sunlight in the morning hours on the skin, the face, and through the eyes, and particularly in the week before ovulation for optimal egg health.
Regular sunlight exposure can increase fertility by up to 1/3! (1)
#2: Vitamin D enhances reproductive health
Vitamin D (calcitriol) is known as the sunshine vitamin, as it's most effectively received in the body through sunlight exposure on the skin, and is essential for both women's and men's reproductive health.
Dietary supplements of Vitamin D are not completely absorbed by the body and have varying degrees of effectiveness.
40% of women in the US are deficient in Vitamin D which can decrease fertility by up to 75%.
There are Vitamin D receptors in the uterus, ovaries, and placenta.
Vitamin D helps to regulate genes, estrogen, progesterone, bone density, embryo implantation, and increase male sperm cell health.
During pregnancy Vitamin D is also essential for organizing immune cells in the uterus to protect the baby.
Low Vitamin D levels in pregnancy can cause an increase in gestational hypertension and diabetes.
Vitamin D is also important in shortening and regulating menstrual cycles and increasing conception.
We have Vitamin D receptors throughout our skin, it's ideal to get sunlight on as much of the skin as possible and then to avoid showering or bathing for 24 hours after sun exposure to enhance Vitamin D absorption in the body. (2)
#3: Warmth supports womb health
Wombs love warmth.
Heat on the uterus, abdomen, and low back decreases common discomforts of menstruation including cramping and helps to reduce stagnation of energy in the uterus.
Cold in the uterus is related to menstrual problems and infertility. In many traditional cultures around the world it is recommended to keep the womb warm for optimal health.
Warmth is supportive to the internal fire of the uterus, and many traditional women's healers around the world understand that keeping the womb warm keeps the internal fires of health stoked.
In Asia, it is common to wrap the abdomen for womb health particularly during menses, pregnancy, and postpartum with a long cloth.
In Japan, this is called the haramaki and is was traditionally worn as an undergarment to keep the center of energy below the bellybutton, the hara, warm to retain the internal energy and support the fire of the organs.
All ages and genders wear the haramaki, however women also love them for easing menstrual discomforts and supporting pregnant and postpartum bellies.
Belly wrapping has also been practiced in many cultures around the world too for centuries.
Belly wrapping after pregnancy has been practiced in Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Latin America, Spain, England, and by many First Nation tribes.
Try keeping your belly warm during menstruation to prevent or ease cramps, through trying a haramaki, wrapping a shawl, scarf, or rebozo around your belly, sitting with a hot pack, or taking warm baths, or even better - getting sunlight and the warmth of the sun on your belly and back when the weather permits. (3)
#4: Dark at night is important for hormonal health
The other aspect of connecting with the energy of the sun, is honoring the darkness of the nighttime when the sunlight is gone.
These times of light and dark in our daily solar cycles are both important to support optimal hormonal health.
Just as waking up early to experience morning sunlight in our eyes and upon our skin is important in our relationship with the Sun, at nighttime it's best to sleep in a completely darkened space without artificial lights.
Dark at nighttime is important for increased melatonin production by the pineal gland.
Even through closed eyelids, light in the bedroom from alarm clocks, night lights or street lights, can disrupt natural hormonal cycles.
Light is perceived by the optic nerve then transmits the information to the hypothalamus gland which is a center for women's hormonal cycling in the brain, and then also sends the input to the pineal gland influencing the release of hormones.
Many people have found that sleeping in a completely dark room at nighttime helps to regulate their menstrual cycles, decrease hormonal challenges, and improve fertility.
To optimize getting the benefits of sunlight for women's health and hormonal balancing, also sleep without light at nighttime to create natural hormonal cycles to support fertility, menstruation, and health. (4)
Sunlight has been celebrated for it's healing power for a long time.
While it's smart to avoid prolonged exposure to the point of causing burning of the skin, it's important to get real sunlight on naked skin and in the eyes consistently for optimal health.
Also avoid excess use of chemical sunscreens which are loaded with endocrine disruptors that can cause havoc with women's hormonal health.
Some studies have shown that women are more sensitive to UV rays during the week prior to menstruation, so if you have sensitive skin that burns easily focus on getting sunlight especially in the week before ovulation, or in the earlier hours of the day instead of the peak hours between 12 to 2.
However enjoy the sunlight! It's no coincidence that ancient fertility festivals and sacred rituals honoring fertility around the world always happen during the warm sunny months of the year.
Sunshine has long been a reason to celebrate sensuality, fertility, and our feminine energy!
Lighten up your cycles with the power of the Sun.