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Heat Exposure Associated With Mental Illness

An intriguing study on heat exposure and hospital admissions for mental illnesses showed that admissions increased during longer periods of heat exposure during heat waves, Science Daily reports. The study also found that old age, gender and rural dwelling also contributed to the increase in mental health-related hospital admissions during heat or extreme heat exposures.

As science continues to probe why, and how, people succumb to mental health problems, we do have positive reports on things we can do to maintain good mental health. For example, we know that sunlight has a profound impact on your mental health — more so than any other weather phenomenon. Out of 19 environmental factors, the only one correlating to higher levels of distress was the amount of time between sunrise and sunset.

There’s also ample evidence that vitamin D — which is made naturally when you’re exposed to sunlight — plays an important role in mental health, including seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and rates of depression and anxiety. Since new research has also emerged linking low vitamin D levels with a risk of cognitive decline and mental impairment, it’s important to make sure your levels are at least 40 ng/ml.

The best way to get vitamin D is by going outside and getting it directly through sun exposure, preferably for 10 to 20 minutes every day, as close to noon as possible. If you do opt for a vitamin D supplement, please remember that you also need to boost your intake of vitamin K2 through food and/or a supplement, as well as get your levels tested to be sure you're safely within the therapeutic range.
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