Every year, as the days grow shorter and we spend more time in the darkness, Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD – how fitting) affects millions of Americans. Natural light plays a significant role in our overall mental health, so it’s no wonder that when we have less of it, we end up not doing as well as we otherwise would be.
As such, it’s crucial to ensure that you have as much access to natural light as possible. Most Americans end up spending upwards of 90% of the day inside. If you’re not out in nature, then you need good quality windows that are smartly placed around your home or business in order to bring in as much sunlight as possible.
Post-pandemic, the impact of natural light on mental health has become more and more pronounced. People who were able to work from home and enjoy the sun are now returning to closed-off offices with fluorescent lights everywhere – and noticing the change that the type of light they’re exposed to is having on their health.
Why Does Sunlight Improve Our Overall Wellbeing?
It comes down to our bodies’ natural processes. For thousands of years, people rose with the sun and wound down as it set. This natural process is known as our circadian rhythm, also known as our bodies’ natural clocks. This impacts not just our mental wellbeing, but also our physical wellbeing, such as how well our bodies regulate blood pressure and when they release hormones.
For instance, you’re likely familiar with melatonin. This is a supplement that you can purchase at the grocery store to help make you sleepy so that you can fall asleep more easily. Our bodies naturally produce melatonin, but melatonin production is disrupted by artificial light. Hence why it’s so often stated that you should avoid screens and dim the lights in the hours before bedtime, so that you can have an easier time falling asleep.
Not only that, by the sun also impacts how much serotonin our body produces, aka the happy hormone. SSRIs combat depression by increasing your body’s serotonin production, which is also something that increased hours in the sun can do for you. It’s not hippy, new-age, gobbledygook to say that you should go outside and get some sun for the sake of your health and happiness – it’s scientifically proven to have a positive impact.
What Are The Benefits Of Increased Exposure To Natural Light?
Many! The fact that our days are so inside isn’t our fault – the world has changed, and most jobs and schooling necessitate being inside for hours on end. However, this has taken its toll on peoples’ overall health, making windows all the more important.
Some of the benefits that you can enjoy from more natural light include:
- Increased vitamin D. This helps to prevent bone loss and reduces your risk of weight gain, heart disease, and certain cancers.
- Improved sleep. The more light from the sun you get, the less likely it is that your circadian rhythm is negatively affected, resulting in better sleep.
- Lessened risk of seasonal depression. When you ensure that you receive enough sunlight throughout the day, you can give yourself a leg-up against SAD.
- Reduced stress and anxiety. This ties into the above point. Not only can sunlight decrease symptoms of depression, it can also give you a mood boost and lower your stress and anxiety levels.
- Improved physical health, which in turn, can help with your mental state. Sunlight reduces eye strain, gives you vitamin D, reduces your blood pressure, gives your immune system a boost, and can make it easier to stay active with improved mood which can help you maintain a healthy weight.
How To Get More Natural Light Into Your Days
If you work in a closed-off office that doesn’t have much in the way of windows, you will need to ensure that your home and your life outside of work provides you with enough natural light. If you have a business and you want to not only improve its appearance but also make it a healthier place to work, adding big commercial windows can do this for you.
Window placement is key. You want to ensure that they bring plenty of light in, and that you have them on the east and the west sides of your home, so you can get sunlight in the morning and in the afternoon. If you have a small room, mirrors and light paints and sheets and the light can help to reflect light, increasing the brightness of your space naturally.
If you’re not sure how to place windows in your new construction home or whether you can add new windows, a professional window technician can advise you. Here at Peak Windows, we’re passionate about providing our clients with top-quality windows and services to bring your dream home to life.
For more information about our windows or to schedule a consultation to have your window questions for your home or business answered, please do not hesitate to contact us today! We are here to help.