What are the positive effects of natural light on your health?

Everyday we are inundated with ads about vitamins and supplements that can work wonders on our health. But often we forget that simply sitting in natural light can help!

Canadians know that our exposure to sunlight throughout the year varies, depending on the season. During the fall and winter we tend to spend more time indoors with the shades closed, surrounded by artificial light (and maybe a roaring fire –  if we’re lucky).

In the past, daylight was the main source of light in most buildings. Eventually  artificial lighting became the norm in both commercial and residential buildings, and the amount of time we spend surrounded by natural light significantly dropped.

What are the benefits of natural lighting:

  • Improved mood
  • Enhanced morale
  • Lower levels of fatigue
  • Reduced eyestrain
  • Meets the need for contact with the outside environment (Robbins 1986)
  • Light used as a nutrient for metabolic processes
  • Stimulant of hormone system processes (Ott 1997)
  • Lower stress levels when facing a natural landscape (Heerwagen 1986)
  • Skin contact resulting in Vitamin D production and the dissociation of bilirubin (Wurtman 1992)
  • Control of circadian rhythms that affect our wake-sleep cycles (Samuels 1990)
  • Proper functioning of the pituitary and pineal glands (Wurtman 1968)
  • Cures rickets (1919 and Seasonal Affective Disorder (1991)
  • Reduces overeating, oversleeping and energy loss (Terman (1986)

 

Natural Light in the Offices, Schools and Hospitals.

Daylighting in offices was found to reduce absenteeism, reduce sick days and improve productivity overall. In schools, students had significantly higher test scores and reported less absences as well. In retail outlets, increased daylight levels lead to a dramatic rise in sales and worker/client well-being. In hospitals and care clinics, patients with diseases that are affected by circadian rhythms (such as Alzheimer’s) had dramatic improvement with light therapy. Medical staff also had higher immunity levels and increased senses of morale. By increasing  Industrial buildings have found that daylighting has  reduced the helped with improved safety including reducing the risk of accidents among labourers.

 

So what is the solution?

Our advice to you during the long winter months is to keep your window covering drawn during the day, and get as a much natural light as possible!