Few things are as inviting and cheerful as natural light streaming through windows, brightening everything in a room. Opening the curtains or blinds each morning provides a jolt of energy and light, making it easier to wake up and get started. But, natural light is more than just an energy and mood brightener. It has real health benefits that influence work output and significantly impact sleep quality.
Helps Fight Depression
Approximately six percent of the population suffers from seasonal affective disorder, also known as SAD. It can occur when waning light interferes with circadian rhythms, which are the body’s internal clock. The condition can cause a lack of energy and appetite, moodiness, and depression. Most people with the syndrome begin to experience symptoms in the fall and continue into the winter months. Light therapy has been proven to help reduce symptoms.
Increasing your home’s natural light can help prevent or minimize SAD. Streaming sunlight increases the body’s serotonin levels, a mood booster. You may need to replace a window to allow more natural light into rooms that are currently too dark.
Provides Essential Vitamin D
The body needs vitamin D to stabilize weight, prevent bone loss, help prevent heart problems, and reduce the risk of certain cancers. Vitamin D is “the sunshine vitamin” because exposure to natural light causes the body to convert the sun’s rays into this crucial nutrient.
It can be challenging to get enough vitamin D during the colder months or if you spend most of your time indoors. Taking a walk in the sunshine is an excellent way to maintain a supply of the critical vitamin, but it’s also possible to get more by increasing natural light in the home or workplace. Per Healthline, keeping curtains or blinds open and working or relaxing near areas with plenty of sunshine can help.
Protects Against Fluorescent Lighting Effects
Millions of people spend hours each day working under fluorescent fixtures, an affordable and safe form of indoor lighting. However, constant exposure to fluorescent lighting may elevate stress responses in certain people. Using compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) as a primary light source may also increase eye strain and migraines.
CFLs are most common in the workplace, but working near a window that provides natural light can be helpful for employees who are sensitive to fluorescent lighting. A Well Living Lab study shows that employees working near natural light had increased cognitive function, less fatigue, and better focus. Those who work from home can also improve their health and sense of well-being by sitting near a window that provides natural light.
Improves Sleep Quality
Natural light plays a part in sleep quality and determines how easily you fall asleep. The CDC reports that the human body’s circadian clock is most sensitive to light from about two hours before bedtime through the night and up to approximately one hour after routine morning wake-up.
Morning light shifts the time for sleep earlier. When exposed to bright morning light, you are likely to get sleepier, fall asleep earlier in the evening, and wake up earlier each morning.
Natural light plays a crucial part in overall wellness. A lack of light is associated with seasonal affective disorder and depression. Employees who work near natural light feel better and are more productive than those constantly exposed to fluorescent lighting. Exposure to natural light also impacts sleep quality and quantity.