Light within our home and at our workplace can affect both our health and our well-being. Sunlight helps the body produce the “happy” hormone serotonin which combats a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Studies who that sunlight in the classroom have a positive impact on student test scores. We now know that artificial light can decrease levels of melatonin, a hormone that is created in the brain. Melatonin is fundamental for our body’s health as it controls our circadian rhythms. A body 'out of balance' will effect mood and sleep patterns, energy and eventually decrease immunity.
If you can’t go outside as often as you like you can make some home improvements to ensure you’re getting maximum light through your windows. “More public living spaces, like living rooms and kitchens, are ideal for allowing filtered daylight to penetrate” – Karen Egly-Thompson a former interior designer. Wooden blinds are perfect at letting the right amount of light in and are also easily controllable.
Natural light boosts your body’s vitamin D storage
Vitamin D is important for absorbing calcium and promoting bone growth, as well as helping prevent certain types of cancers, heart disease, depression and weight gain. Yet, many Americans have a vitamin D deficiency due to a lack of outdoor sun exposure. So get outside since scientists suggest that Vitamin D may be helpful in treating many different disorders and diseases, such as autism, cancer, diabetes, chronic pain and depression.
Natural light improves your mood
Did you know that there is a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder, which affects many people in the winter when they do not receive enough sunlight? Scientists believe that the “happy” hormone called serotonin increases when nights are short and days are long. In fact, many psychiatrists recommend that people get out in the sunlight for at least 30 minutes a day to help prevent or treat depression.
Open the blinds let in the light. Better yet, open the door and take a walk outside in the sun for at least 20 minutes several times a week, your body will thank you.
Natural light helps you sleep
Research shows that the amount of sunlight you receive during the day has a direct impact on how much sleep you get at night. Direct sunlight, especially early in the morning for at least half an hour, produces the most benefit for a good night’s sleep while artificial lighting has little to no effect. In fact, artificial light before bed and at night can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer if you’re unable to consistently obtain quality sleep.
Natural light benefits vision
Computer screens, smart phones and florescent light can cause eye strain that can lead to permanent eye damage. Natural light has been shown to lower the risk of nearsightedness in children and young adults by helping the eye produce dopamine, which aids in healthy eye development.
Natural light leads to higher productivity
A study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology found that employees working in natural light recorded higher levels of energy than those working under artificial light. Another study showed 40 percent higher sales at checkout counters located beneath skylights. This data confirms what many studies have shown: natural light leads to enhanced productivity.