We rise and shine and get through the day. We acknowledge the sun, but we don’t question its presence. It rises and sets every day, just as we breathe—naturally. But what if the sun barely shone on us?
Well, we don’t have to imagine, because this does happen in several Nordic countries, many other parts of Europe, and some parts of America. They suffer this fate for several months at a time. Their skies remain an eternal grey while the sun’s rays barely make their way onto the land. Those of us who come from regions that receive plenty of sunlight might not know what the hue and cry about sunlight is. But many months of living with barely any sunshine can surely throw some light on it.
A study conducted by psychologists Kathryn A Roecklein and Kelly J Rohan shows how climatic conditions with poor sunlight can bring about major mental health conditions. It states: “Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), characterised by fall/winter major depression with spring/summer remission, is a prevalent mental health problem. (…) Young adults and women are most likely to experience SAD with the reported gender difference ranging from 2:1 to 9:1.3. SAD also has been identified in children and adolescents.”
Given the prevalence of SAD, many people living in regions that receive little to no sunlight use light therapy lamps and ice to mimic sunlight. But there’s no replacing it. In the book Ayurveda Lifestyle Wisdom, master of Ayurveda Acharya Shunya writes: “The ancient Veda recognises light from the original source, which is the sun. All other light sources, even special lightboxes or high-tech lightbulbs, that stimulate the sun, are functioning on borrowed light. These types of light may activate guna (tendency) like rajas (passion, activity and dynamism), but they cannot impart the sattva (balance, harmony, and serenity) of the rising sun, which we require in order to be happy and productive for the rest of the day and to get a timely, balanced sleep the following night.”