HomeNewsThe Sunlight — poker players’ two-faced friend

The Sunlight — poker players’ two-faced friend

Is sunlight beneficial for humans and how to protect yourself from its negative effects: a guide for poker players

Not only plants need sunlight for survival — the health of every human also directly depends on it. However, this does not mean that everyone needs to move to the equator and constantly be outdoors — in many ways, careful treatment of the body requires the opposite behavior.

We have gathered for you the most useful information, debunked myths, and important precautions regarding exposure to the sun.

Important! This website is not a medical publication. We recommend our readers to always base important health-related decisions on the results of analyses and examinations, recommendations from personal physicians, and individual bodily characteristics.

Why do poker players need to think more about sunlight?

“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light” — this quote from Dumbledore in Harry Potter aptly describes numerous situations, including the connection between sunlight and human happiness.

As far back as 2009, a joint study on the effects of light on people’s moods conducted by the University of Alabama showed that regular exposure to sunlight enhances cognitive abilities and helps reduce depressive symptoms.

In 2023, a team from Shandong University confirmed this conclusion with another study, demonstrating a direct correlation between work efficiency, the quality of a person’s mental health, and the frequency of exposure to sunlight.

In both studies, the link is explained by the fact that sunlight stimulates the production of serotonin — the “happiness hormone” — and beta-endorphins, which dull the sense of pain and enhance the feeling of pleasure.

Since maintaining mental health is one of the most important factors for poker players to achieve success in the long run, regular contact with sunlight is of great importance to them. However, its importance is not limited to just this aspect.

Thanks to sunlight — specifically ultraviolet radiation — the human body is able to synthesize one of the most important vitamins for the proper functioning of the immune system, the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from food, as well as resistance to tooth decay — vitamin D.

Although people can obtain it from dietary supplements, they are still unable to meet the daily requirement through this method alone — it is vital to have exposure to UV radiation.

In this regard, three categories of people always face challenges: residents of regions with short daylight hours, office workers, and poker players. They are all united by prolonged periods without access to sufficient sunlight, which the body needs to consistently produce the required amount of vitamin D.”

Why is regular contact with sunlight dangerous?

Despite the fact that basking in the sun is beneficial and important for health, this process has several risk factors.

#1 Development of skin problems

The main problem of skin contact with sunlight is the appearance of sunburn, when ultraviolet radiation causes damage to the outer layers of the skin, resulting in swelling, redness, and pain.

Additionally, sunlight stimulates oxidative processes in skin cells. If there is no melanin pigment in some cells at the moment of exposure to sunlight, to protect them from oxidation, a photon from the sun knocks out their nuclei. As a result, the cells start to divide improperly — becoming cancerous.

Even if melanin is present, it suffers as well — oxidation knocks atoms out of its molecules, causing them to seek replacements from neighboring molecules. This process damages skin cells, resulting in photoaging — the appearance of specific pigment spots, dryness, and wrinkling of the skin.

One of the illustrative examples from the scientific field is a photograph of a 69-year-old truck driver published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It shows that the left side of the man’s face looks significantly older than the right side because it was regularly and excessively exposed to sunlight.

With a sufficiently short contact, sunlight can benefit the skin — reducing inflammation and acne, as well as stimulating blood circulation and metabolism. However, it can also trigger an allergy (photodermatitis) — according to the Russian Ministry of Health, about 20% of people worldwide suffer from it. Allergy usually occurs after skin contact with direct sunlight and manifests as redness and peeling, accompanied by itching, burning, and even the formation of pustules.

#2 Eye damage

In addition to the skin, the eyes also suffer from sunlight. Light stimulates degenerative processes in the retina of the eye and can cause retinal burns, as well as damage to light receptors. However, this only occurs with direct gaze at the sun or reflecting surfaces — that is, at a bright source of light. Simply being outside on a sunny day does not harm your vision.

#3 Sleep disturbances

When our eyes perceive daylight and sunlight, they send information to the brain that it is currently a time of wakefulness. In response, the brain suppresses processes related to sleep — such as the production of melatonin, slowing down metabolism, and others. If you are exposed to sunlight for too long, the body’s process of preparing for sleep may be disrupted, leading to more difficult falling asleep and a decrease in the feeling of restfulness upon awakening.

Myths about sunlight

Despite millennia of human life under the sun and numerous studies of its effects on living organisms, society continues to perpetuate some myths related to sunlight. We’ve chosen the three most popular ones.

#1 Tanning protects the skin from sunburn

In reality, the skin is protected by the pigment melanin, the production of which increases upon exposure to direct sunlight. A tan — acquired tan is a noticeable consequence of excessive sun exposure to the skin, the cells of which have been oxidized. Based on this, your body derives no benefit from changes in the color of your skin, except for aesthetic ones — and the latter is only true for a short time, as regular sun exposure with age leads to more pronounced skin aging and the appearance of pigmentation spots.

#2 Tanning and sunburn can only be obtained in the sun

The sun shines on the Earth constantly — we are constantly exposed to UV radiation when we are outside closed rooms without windows.

The presence or absence of clouds above you, as well as being in the shade, do not change this fact — they simply slightly reduce the amount of ultraviolet reaching you.

#3 Dark-skinned people should not fear the sun

Although people with tan and dark skin have more melanin in it, and therefore higher resistance to UV radiation, they can still experience all the same problems as fair-skinned individuals if they spend too long in the sun. Moreover, due to the peculiarities of pigmentation, mulattos and black people are much more likely to miss dangerous changes in their skin.

How to get only positive effects from the sun?

  1. Use sunscreens — creams with UV protection. They should be applied to the skin before each outing, taking into account the intensity of sunlight, sun protection factor (SPF), and individual characteristics of your skin each time. SPF describes the ability of the cream to block ultraviolet light. The lowest rating is 6, which should be used for tan and dark skin on cloudy days. The highest rating is 50+, providing almost 100% protection from ultraviolet rays and suitable for use on sunny days for beach outings or during hot summers if you have very fair and sensitive skin.
  2. Maximally protect your skin with clothing. Covering your skin from the sun will not hinder its production of vitamin D and hormones but will protect it from burns and overheating.
  3. Wear sunglasses. Also, try not to look directly at the sun and its reflecting surfaces.
  4. Avoid sunbathing and sunroom. They are only necessary for getting a tan and do much more harm than good.
  5. Avoid being in the sun during its peak activity. At this stage in history, this period is considered to be from 11:00 to 17:00 — during this time, the sun shines directly on the earth, resulting in the highest doses of ultraviolet radiation.