The surprising health benefits of natural light
August 23, 2018
We’ve all seen how natural light can accentuate design features or create a sense of space in a home, but there is research that suggests that it’s good for you too.
The circadian rhythm
Your circadian rhythm is an internal clock that controls when you feel sleepy and alert – essentially, it’s your sleep/wake cycle. Living in a home with a large source of natural light will regulate your body’s production of melatonin, so you’ll feel more alert during the day and tired at night.
Natural light is also important to your sleep/wake cycle because it reduces your dependency on artificial light, which can play havoc with your body’s production of melatonin, making it hard to fall asleep. However, natural light won’t be able to do its job if you continue to use your ‘blue light’ devices close to bed time, so switch off and get a good night’s sleep as a reward.
From fighting colds to absorbing calcium, Vitamin D is an essential mineral for your health and the best way to get it is with a little bit of sun. What’s surprising, is that despite an abundance of sunlight, 1 in 4 Australians have a Vitamin D deficiency, putting their long-term health at risk.
According to the Cancer Council of Australia, people can receive an adequate amount of Vitamin D through ‘regular incidental exposure to the sun.’ That could be as simple as going for a short walk, or ensuring that home has adequate window exposure.
Mental health and well being
A light filled space can improve your mood. When your body recognises sunlight through the optic nerve, it starts to produce serotonin, which can make you feel happier.
Natural light also benefits people suffering from seasonal affective disorders, nonseasonal depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, anxiety and panic attacks.
Besides which, don’t you feel better being in a luminous space than a dark and stuffy room for hours on end?
Evidence is emerging that sunlight might have a beneficial influence in preventing certain cancers. It seems like an oxymoron, but scientists believe that sun exposure and its relationship with vitamin D synthesis may be a contributing factor.
A great way to beautify your home and gain the aforementioned health benefits is to increase your access to natural light with large north-facing windows or even a glass curtain wall. Let the light in – as we’ve learned, it’s good for you.
Read more articles like this on the Viridian Glass Talks blog.