Daylight is an essential component to optimum health and wellbeing. Yet with so many of us spending the majority of daylight hours indoors, most of us aren’t getting enough exposure to the healthy daylight we need. Daylight helps to boost health and mental performance while also creating more beautiful and inviting living and working environments. Here we take a closer look at the real benefits of natural daylight for health and wellbeing.
Eye and Brain Development
Human eye and brain development occurred long ago when we spent most of our time outdoors in the bright sunlight. Nowadays, scientists suspect that our increasing nearsightedness is a result of the fact that we spend much more time indoors, with books, screens, and computers close to our eyes1. Greater exposure to natural sunlight, especially for children, helps to establish normal eye and brain development.
Optimum Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D is also known as the sunlight vitamin because production of vitamin D occurs in the body when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is essential for healthy and strong bones, immune system reinforcement, and protection from more serious diseases such as cancer, type-1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Getting enough sunlight ensures your body’s levels of Vitamin D are topped up, keeping you healthy and full of energy.
Better Mental Health
Scientists and doctors have long known that a lack of exposure to sunlight can cause Seasonal Affective Disorder, a recognized health condition that is characterized by low mood as a result of a lack of sunlight. In a recent study, scientists found that increased sun time resulted in less mental stress, while times of lower sunlight exposure correlated with greater mental stress. This research proves what many people already feel is true – that sunlight exposure is beneficial for not you’re your physical health but also your mental health.
Greater exposure to sunlight can also help you to sleep better at night. Your body clock is regulated by circadian rhythms, and these in turn are set by your exposure to sunlight. Exposure to sunlight and darkness triggers changes in melatonin, which helps you feel sleepy or awake, depending on the time of day. People who get more exposure to daylight tend to find it easier to fall asleep at night, and feel refreshed when they wake up. They also tend to sleep longer, and not wake up during the night, for better quality sleep at night2.
Greater Productivity and Less Sick Days
Because sunlight helps to make us more alert and healthy, it stands to reason that increased natural daylighting in our workplaces helps to increase productivity, reduce sick days, and boost our performance at work. Workplaces that installed windows and skylights found their employees’ productivity and performance increased, while days off decreased.
With all the health benefits of natural light, it makes sense to increase sun light levels in your home or office. Open shutters on windows, install skylights, and consider solar tube skylights for optimum sunlight levels without the heat and glare.