Bright Ideas: A Guide to the Emotional Benefits of Natural Light
Taking every opportunity to get outside or let more sunlight into your home and office is one of the best things you can do for your health. If you happen to live in an area that gets a lot of light, then installing skylights is a great way to get more sunlight into your day. With that said, no matter how you choose to incorporate natural light into your life, knowing how it affects your health and well-being is important to ensure you make the necessary changes to bring more natural light into your life.
As the seasons change, it is important to remind yourself of how natural light influences your mental and physical well-being. For anyone who lives in a region that is often cloudy or where the winter season means short and darker days, you will already know just how much of an impact natural light has on our moods. Taking action now to increase your exposure to natural light will help you to maintain your health with ease going forward.
Let’s take a closer look at just some of the benefits of natural light and how it impacts our moods in different ways.
Importance Of Vitamin D
Sunlight is one of the best sources of vitamin D that can be found naturally. Vitamin D is an essential element in the production of hormones in the body and a proper balance of hormones is essential for maintaining a positive mood. Without adequate vitamin D, you can significantly deteriorate your health including the strength of your bones. This is why it is so important to get outside and not spend time indoors unnecessarily.
While you can supplement your diet with vitamin D from some enriched sources or fatty fish, the best way to absorb this much-needed element is to expose yourself to natural light. Best of all, this is completely free and will leave you feeling fresh and rejuvenated.
Change Your Appetite
We all know that being hungry or being too full can significantly impact your mood. It is helpful to know, then, that natural light has been shown to influence and regulate appetite. Those who do not receive regular sunlight are more likely to choose fatty and less healthy food options, while those who receive abundant natural light are less likely to experience feelings of insatiable hunger and make wiser food choices.
Find Your Rhythm
Natural light plays a large role in regulating the body’s circadian rhythm. This process influences virtually all the systems and processes in your body. Therefore, having it out of sync with the natural environment can wreak havoc on your overall mood and well-being.
Those who work the night shift know this dilemma well, as it can be difficult to adjust to sleeping during the daylight hours. The human body is simply not meant to perform in this way, and therefore night shift work is associated with significantly worse health outcomes than those who work a more conventional nine-to-five schedule.
Being thrown off in this way can certainly impact your mood, as you are more likely to be irritable and confused than if you allow your body to work in sync with the schedule of natural light.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
The lack of natural light in darker winter months can lead to significant mental health deterioration in some individuals. If you suffer from noticeably low moods during the winter months but otherwise have adequate mental health, then you might have a mild form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.
Fortunately, there are means of treating this condition to get you through the winter blues. These include buying an interior light that is specifically designed for mimicking the UV rays of natural light, or simply walking outside whenever the sun happens to be shining.
See The Light
Now that you have familiarised yourself with the impact of natural light on our moods, you need to take the next step and apply this knowledge. Get outside or install some skylights in your home to reap the mood-boosting benefits of sunlight all year round.