Many of us spend the majority of our days indoors under artificial lights. Electricity was a life-changing invention, but it also means humans get much less natural light than they used to. Plus, the rise of desk jobs keeps us from going outside very often throughout the day. These factors are a problem because there are many health benefits of natural light.
Here are some reasons exposure to natural light matters so much to our health and well-being—and how we can work to get more on a daily basis.
1. Natural Light Boosts Your Body’s Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a vital role in our health. The benefits of vitamin D are vast and include immune system regulation, lower blood pressure, bone loss prevention, calcium absorption, and disease prevention. Our bodies can make vitamin D through sun exposure.
Many Americans do not get enough vitamin D because they are not getting enough outdoor sun exposure, but natural light is the remedy. Spending more time in natural light can help boost your body’s production of vitamin D and all its critical functions.
2. You Will Probably Start Sleeping Better
Did you know the amount of sunlight on your skin throughout your day can directly affect how much you sleep? In addition, artificial indoor light can negatively impact your sleep cycle and make it hard to get quality shuteye.
Getting more natural light, especially for at least 30 minutes in the early morning, can make a huge difference in the amount and quality of sleep you get each night.
3. More Natural Light Helps Fight Seasonal Depression
When the colder weather months hit, many people struggle with symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) like depression, moodiness, and fatigue. SAD is related to changes between seasons. It can happen any time of year, but it’s especially common in the fall and winter months.
Research has shown that exposure to natural light during the lower-light months may help symptoms of depression in both adults and children.
4. Work Productivity Rises With Natural Light
Besides being good for your mood and sleep patterns, natural light has been shown to boost productivity in work environments, too.
A study from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology showed that employees who worked under natural light had higher energy levels than employees exposed to artificial lights. Another study by the Heschong Mahone Group of Sacramento that looked at 20,000 students found classes with natural lighting raised test scores by as much as 26 percent compared with students attending classes under mostly artificial light.
5. Going Natural Saves Energy in Your Home
Lighting makes up a good chunk of the energy used in a home. Letting in more natural light helps save energy—and can cut down on your electric bills. It also gives you more exposure to natural light even if you’re inside.
How to Get the Benefits of Natural Light
Now that you can see why natural light is good, here are some ways you can put these facts into practice.
Get Outside as Much as Possible
It’s tempting to hibernate during colder, darker months, but fitting in more outside time can greatly benefit your mind and body. Look for little ways to get more sun during the day.
Try taking a walk during your lunch break or before work. If the sun is still out when you get home from work, relax on your porch or patio. Getting your exercise outdoors can give you more of that vitamin D while also supporting your cardiovascular and muscular health.
Let in More Natural Light
There are several ways you can let more natural light into your home or workspace, even if you are inside much of the day:
- During the day, try to leave your blinds up and curtains open to let in more light from outside instead of using many lights inside.
- You can also add more mirrors to your rooms, which can help cast light between your walls.
- Light walls and flooring or rugs in your house can also help reflect light and brighten everything up.
Consider Light Therapy
Light therapy involves sitting near a light therapy box that gives off natural light like you would encounter outside. Light therapy is a popular treatment for SAD and other issues caused by lack of natural light. You can get light therapy boxes or lamps at many stores.
You Can Also Supplement With Vitamin D
Besides helping your body create more vitamin D through the benefits of natural light, you also have the option to take a daily vitamin D supplement. Many, many people are deficient in vitamin D, so it’s common for doctors to recommend supplementation.
Talk to your doctor, and if supplementing with vitamin D is a good option for you, consider adding it to your regimen. Although it’s not the same as getting natural light, it can help benefit some symptoms of lack of light.
Overall, be aware that not getting enough natural light can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. If you are feeling “off” this season, consider whether or not you have been getting enough exposure to light outside. If so, the above information can hopefully help you fix it.
For many all-natural products to help support your inner and outer health, shop our selections at Nature’s Ideal today. Looked also at our natural balanced light bulbs here. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.