We need natural light. It helps us to function better and makes us a happier person. Why? Sunlight affects the brain’s pineal gland to slow the production of melatonin and as the level falls, you become more awake and alert. During the darker months we rely on artificial light more but we should be getting more natural sources and here’s why:
1. Allow More Natural Light in for a Better Environment
In studies, occupants in day-lit office buildings and homes have reported an increase in general well being. Some specific benefits of naturally-lit places of work include reduced absenteeism, better health, financial savings, increased productivity, and more. Get all these benefits by making it easier for natural light to enter your home and workplace. Install more windows and skylights if possible, trim overhanging branches of trees outside your windows and keep curtains open for as long as you can.
2. Spend Time Outdoors to Enjoy Light at Its Best
Your eyes function at their best when they receive the full-spectrum of light, which they get from daylight. That's why you will enjoy great benefits by going for morning walks when the day light is at its brightest. Spend more time in your backyard instead indoors. Making these small changes will help boost your energy with natural light.
3. Use Natural Light to Prevent the "Afternoon Crash”
Do you feel sleepy around 2.00 pm? This afternoon crash occurs because natural light starts to fade around the same time. Natural light influences your alertness, mood, and productivity in a positive way, while electric light does the exact opposite. Just by being exposed to natural light, you can avoid that dreaded "afternoon crash" without the help of coffee, tea, or other stimulants.
4. Replace Artificial Lighting with Day-lighting Systems
Minimize fluorescent light while maximizing natural light. It is even more important for stay-at-home moms because they don't get enough natural light and run the risk of affecting their natural biological clock that may result in depression, fatigue, and "months-long case of jet lag". Similarly, harsh lighting can trigger the production of a hormone called cortisol that usually increases due to certain issues like anxiety attacks, sleep deprivation, and other dangerous situations. Natural daylight helps lower this stress hormone and boost your energy.
5. Install Additional Lighting in Dark Places
Since natural light can penetrate only so far through a window, consider installing additional points of light. Install a few day-lighting systems in the dark and windowless areas of your home and office. This will help boost your energy, and even help your houseplants grow better.
6. Use Natural Light to Improve Your Mental Health
Natural light can not only boost your energy but also ensures your mental well-being. The powerful stimulus of light influences both the neuroendocrine hormonal system and the central nervous system. In the absence of light you may end up developing issues like fatigue, depression, etc. Photoelectric energy also triggers the production of serotonin and dopamine, two hormones responsible for making you feel relaxed and happy. Natural sunlight also boosts vitamin D levels in your body, which improves your immune system and helps keep you healthy.
7. Use Natural Sunlight to Keep Your Body Warm
Research shows you are more productive when your body is warm. You know how uncomfortable you become when the temperature drops. Researchers have also discovered that you're likely to make 44% more mistakes when you work in environments with temperature as low as 20 degrees Celsius. Introducing sunlight to your workplace will help regulate the temperature and boost your energy levels and productivity.
I bought myself one of those lamps and bulbs that replicate sunlight for working by. It really does make a difference. Do you notice how your moods and energy changes in different light environments?