Vitamin D & Sunlight: How Long Should You Be In The Sun For Vitamin D & What Is The Best Time To Sit In Sun?

We know that sunlight is a great source of vitamin D. Getting enough of sunlight can help you in getting the required amount of Vitamin D. But, how long should you be in the Sun for Vitamin D and what is the best time to sit in the Sun? Go through the following array of the article to know about these.

Vitamin D And Sunlight

Vitamin D And Sunlight: An Overview

The Sunshine Vitamin D may protect against a lot of diseases like heart disease, breast cancers, colon cancers, prostate cancers, osteoporosis, etc. Sunlight even protects against depression, insomnia, and an over-reactive immune system. As per the research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, those individuals with the lowest levels of Vitamin D have more than double the risk of dying from heart disease and other causes over a period of 8-year compared with those with the highest levels of Vitamin D. As per the research, “decreased outdoor activity” is one reason that people may become deficient in Vitamin D.

Summer is a great time to stock up on the Vitamin D nutrient. When the UV-B rays from the sun hit the skin, a reaction takes place that enables the skin cells to manufacture Vitamin D. However, if you are living in North Of Atlanta, then producing vitamin D becomes impossible in Winter, because the Sun never gets high enough in the sky for its UV-B rays to penetrate the atmosphere.

How Long Should You Be In The Sun For Vitamin D?

It is difficult to quantify how much sunlight you should receive for vitamin D without being affected by skin cancer due to the UV rays. The darker the skin, the more it is protected against the skin cancer, but the less able it is to absorb the UV-B rays.

Apart from the skin color, it also depends on how much skin is exposed to the sun and the time of the day too. In case you are fair skinned, you need to go outside for 10 minutes in the midday sun, with shorts and a tank top with no sunscreen, as this will provide you enough radiation to produce about 10,000 international units of the Vitamin D. However, dark-skinned individuals and the elderly people produce less Vitamin D, and many folks do not get enough of the nutrient from their dietary sources, such as fatty fish and fortified milk. So, if you are black skinned you require six times the Sun exposure to make the same amount of Vitamin D levels (from sunlight) as a very fair-skinned person would make. In case you are of Hispanic origin or already tan, you may require 15 to 20 minutes to be in the sun to make enough of Vitamin D.

What Is The Best Time To Sit In The Sun?

Mid-day sun exposure is the best for optimum levels of Vitamin D production. That would be between 11 Am to 2 PM. This is because the angle through the atmosphere affects how much UV-B radiation you get exposed to. At noon, the Sun is highest and the transited atmospheric thickness is lowest. The Sun must be above an angle of 50 degrees from the horizon, in order for UV-B rays to penetrate the atmosphere. However, you must also know that atmosphere may also contain smog sometimes, which absorbs the UV radiation and reduces this effect, and you might not get enough of Vitamin D on a smoggy day, even if you get the Sun at noon. Early morning or end-of-the-day (evening) exposure to the Sun is not effective in getting enough Vitamin D, as the Sun has very little UV-B rays during this time.

The Shadow Trick

This trick works great to get the most Vitamin D out of your daily Sun exposure. You can sit in the sun when your shadow is shorter than your actual height. This means that in winter, with the sunlight at a slant, your optimal sunbathing time is narrowed down greatly.


Though it is good to sit in the Sun to get the optimum levels of Vitamin D, you must remember that you also need to know the appropriate time to sit in the sun so as to avoid any kind of skin damage like premature ageing or dreaded melanoma.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 10, 2018

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