Light within our home and at our workplace can affect our health and wellbeing. Natural light has so many benefits, but it can be hard to get enough of it when you spend most of your day at work.
Artificial light decreases levels of melatonin, a hormone that is created in the brain by the pineal gland. Melatonin is critical for our body’s health due to its control over our circadian rhythms.
This natural process is often referred to as our body clock. When interrupted it can impact our mental and psychological functioning, including our ability to sleep, think clearly, timing and release of hormones and also the regulation of blood pressure.
Continuous disruption and interruption of our circadian rhythms can increase our risk of developing illnesses and disorders such as depression and diabetes.
What is it about Natural Sunlight that makes us feel good?
“The human body thrives when the weather is warmer. According to research, the main reason for mood changes comes down to longer days and thus, exposure to more light,” says Lowri Dowthwaite, a Lecturer in Psychological Interventions at the University of Central Lancashire.
Increased hours of sunlight heighten the brain’s production of the mood-enhancing chemical serotonin. Studies have discovered that the more sunlight we are exposed to, the more serotonin we produce.
‘’Light is essential for our health and wellbeing. Ensuring that we receive adequate levels at the appropriate times of day benefits our alertness, mood, productivity, sleep pattern and many aspects of our physiology.” – Dr. Victoria Revell
How to get More Light and be Happier
If you’re struggling to fit natural light into your busy schedule, you may need to make some adjustments in your daily routine. Something as small as taking a walk during your lunch hour will help. In fact, even a walk beneath the winter sun will benefit you.
If you’re spending too many hours indoor during the winter, light therapy can help. There are two types you can buy – light boxes and daylight simulation lights (which you use when you’re asleep).
These products wake you up naturally with a gradual increase in light, which in turn prompts biological responses that make you feel more energetic and alert upon wakening. This is great for times when you feel lethargic and suffer from the winter blues or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
You can also make very small home improvements that can make a huge difference. We all appreciate the natural beauty of allowing more light to shine through our windows at home. This is something everyone can do!
There are many home improvement methods you can use to let more light into your wonderful home. You may choose to brighten up your interior with a fresh coat of paint, move your furniture or hire a decorator to brighten up your home. You’ll begin to feel the benefits right away as the warmth of the sun hits your skin.
“Light control is different for every room. The light control within your bedroom is essential for a healthy body clock. You can use blackout blinds in a bedroom, as your body needs to sleep in total darkness for optimum health,” – Jennifer Barrett in her article “Sleep Oasis.”
However, you should open these blinds up in the morning and welcome the rays of sunshine into your bedroom to help you feel energised and motivated.
Your living room and kitchen are areas of the house that need the most natural lighting. Adding more sunlight to these areas can make the space seem bigger too. Sash windows are excellent at letting light in, due to their design and shape.
“More public living spaces, like living rooms and kitchens, are ideal for allowing filtered daylight to penetrate,” says Karen Egly-Thompson a former interior designer. Wooden blinds are great at letting the right amount of light in and are also easily controllable.
For maximum results, make the most of your window space; take advantage of your double-glazed sash windows and keep the area clear to allow maximum natural light to enter.
We of course would like you to be safe while you get those rays you so well deserve. Even on days that may not seem overly sunny, sunscreen can protect you from getting too much harmful rays. It’s always best to look at the UV rating system on the back of the bottle.
You can still get the benefits without sitting in direct sunlight; yes, you can get all these benefits in the shade too!
Author bio: Jade Jordan works with SJB Sash Windows & enjoys creating content that discusses simple ways to enjoy life more.
The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
A version of this article was originally published here.