If you’re like me and enjoy soaking up the sun on a nice warm day, you may notice that after a little time in the sun… you’re ready for a nap! I sure know I am! I’ve always wondered why relaxing in the sun leads to feeling more exhausted than rejuvenated. Well here’s why!
Our bodies are constantly working hard to maintain homeostasis, specifically temperature. On a warm day our bodies adjust to maintain this specific temperature. One way our bodies do this is through vasodilation. Vasodilation is the widening of blood vessels that result from the relaxation of muscular walls. This process allows for more blood to flow near the surface of your skin, allowing time for your blood to cool and release heat as it travels towards the skin’s surface. (If you ever find yourself over heated this increased blood flow near the skin explains why some people appear beet red when they’re hot)! Another way our bodies work to maintain homeostasis of body temperature is through sweat. When warm, our bodies secrete sweat onto our skin which then cools our skin as sweat evaporates!
But, in order for vasodilation and sweating to occur, our bodies have to do some work. Our heart and metabolic rates increase. It’s these occurrences that eventually lead to us feeling sleepy. Dehydration also plays a key role in fatigue. As your body secretes sweat, in attempts to cool down, you become more and more dehydrated.
Dehydration, when sun bathing, is also present if your skin gets burned or damaged. A sunburn is a sign that UV radiation has damaged the DNA in your skin cells. When you get sunburned, your body is constantly trying to repair the damage to those skin cells. One way the body attempts to repair the damage of a burn is diverting fluid from the rest of the body towards the burn leading to dehydration and therefore leading to fatigue.
In conclusion, as you soak up the rays wherever you may be, the best thing to do is to stay hydrated! Drink lots of non-diuretic beverages such as water and eat a salty snack! Non-diuretic beverages are those that keep you hydrated! Remaining hydrated will help somewhat with the fatigue you feel as you try and relax in the sun… what a paradox!!