Benefits of Natural Light – And How to Maximise at Home
Whether it’s for taking the perfect selfie, or brightening up your home, is there anything quite like natural light? As humans we are programmed to seek out light. when we are young, we are scared of the opposite, and as we get older, we aim to soak up as much of it as possible. Surrounding yourself with natural light, in the places you spend the majority of your time, is a sure-fire way to experience all of its many, many benefits. Here are the un-ignorable benefits of maximising natural light entry in the home!
According to Nutrition.org.uk, 1 in 5 of Britons are deficient in vitamin D. This means that these people are at an increased risk of certain health ailments, specifically Rickets and Osteomalacia. Don’t fret too much though, as spending some time in the sun can reverse this deficiency completely! Vitamin D is a substance that we usually absorb from the sun. Although, we do pick some up, to varying degrees, through the food we eat.
The job of Vitamin D is to promote the absorption of Calcium, that we do get from our diet, in the intestines. Calcium, as we all know, is good for our bones, teeth and muscles.
Mental Health Boosts – One of THE Most Important Benefits of Natural Light
Annoyingly, for many of us out there, we spend most of our weekday daylight hours in an office. So, the amount of natural light we can soak up in this time is dictated by the architecture of our work spaces. This is why we need to maximise the natural light reaching us when we are at home.
A benefit of natural light is the way it impacts our noggins. It has been scientifically proven that spending time in a naturally lit area increases the amount of Serotonin that the brain produces. Serotonin is the brain’s happiness chemical and having more of it being released is associated with increased mood. Furthermore, this happiness is not temporary. Meaning, that if we can spend more time in natural light on a daily basis, our happiness can improve on a much longer-term scale.
So, there you go, natural light makes us happy, and who doesn’t enjoy being happy? Natural light has also been shown to have a positive effect on long-standing mental health conditions, such as depression and seasonal effective disorder. How amazing is that!?
Improvements to Sleep
Is there anything better than a good night’s sleep? This writer’s answer is a resounding no. Were you aware that spending your daytimes in plentiful natural light can make a humungous difference to the quantity and quality of your sleep? It can. Along with Serotonin, another chemical that natural light exposure has a profound effect on is everyone’s favourite circadian hormone – Melatonin.
This is another benefit of maximising natural light in the home. Melatonin is in charge of the body’s sleep/wake cycles. It’s what wakes you up at 6:45AM on a Saturday morning when you were hoping for a lie in. This occurs because the body becomes calibrated to fall asleep and wake up at certain times. Melatonin is in control of this. However, if you spent all day in darkness, while you may know what time it is, your Melatonin levels, and subsequently your body’s circadian rhythms would be thrown out of calibration. Theoretically meaning that you’d struggle to get to sleep.
Natural light has a very positive effect on this calibration of Melatonin, leading to restful sleep and all the benefits that come with it. Benefits including: lowered fatigue, better mood, improvements in memory, creativity, productivity, attention, hormone balance, fat burning ability and athletic performance!
How to Maximise Natural Light Entry, To Achieve These Un-ignorable Benefits of Natural Light!
I promise, no matter where you live, or the architecture of your living quarters, you will always be able to improve your homes natural light entry. It is true however, that some houses just have more natural light entry potential than others, due to: the number and size of the windows, the direction they face, even the country you live in. A windowless house in Antarctica for example would be the opposite of ideal for natural light entry.
Firstly, mirrors. Rather than furnishing your house with boring, opaque, light-absorbing pictures of your family and friends, why not try chocking it full of mirrors instead, because looking at yourself is more important. I kid, the benefits of having an abundance of mirrors in your home aren’t limited to checking your hair from multiple angles. No, if you’re clever, you can place mirrors strategically, so as to reflect the natural light, coming in through your windows, into the normally darker areas of your home.
Open Those Curtains
I know this one might sound horrendously obvious. But, you’d be surprised at the number of people who sit there in eternal darkness, with their blinds perennially closed. Light needs a point of entry into your home, and with your curtains basically acting as a pair of arrogant nightclub bouncers, light won’t be able to get in. Subsequently, you’re not going to receive the natural light your body requires, or its many benefits.
As light-dependant mammals, we need to spend time in the sun. This “sun-time” is much easier to come by for us humans if we’re maximising the amount of natural light we have entering our homes. So, in the wise words of English pop-rock band, Elbow, throw those curtains wide!
First of all, no, this is not in reference to your potential bad mood due to a lack of natural light exposure. I am talking about lightening up your decor! Admittedly, this may be verging on the expensive side of things. Especially, if your front room’s colour scheme has a bit of a gothic feel. However, lighter colours do reflect light better than darker colours, which tend to absorb.
The main exponents of this are your walls, carpets and furniture. The colour of your walls can make a dramatic difference to the feel of a room. So, when it comes to paints think: whites, creams, beiges, sky blues, pinks, oranges, light greens and light greys. Whilst vehemently avoiding the darker versions of these colours. Carpets are much the same. However, tearing up your carpet to lay down a new one could be time consuming and costly. Good advice is, if you have dark carpets, to invest in some nice brightly coloured rugs – which are also easier to wash than carpets if you have pets!
Throw Yourself into it
Furniture is another expensive component. Over the years, this writer’s parents have been partial to making some questionable purchases. Especially, when it comes to living room furniture. A pair of dark green sofas with orange cushions springs to mind. One way to sidestep buying a whole new, lightly-coloured recliner set, would be to invest in a throw or two instead. Preferably, one that covers most of your settee and is a bright colour to reflect light. Bonus throw benefit: if you do happen to own a pair of offensive dark green sofas, you will no longer be able to see them. Marvellous.
Thank you for joining us on this, hopefully, eye-opening look at the un-ignorable benefits of natural light. Plus, the ways in which you can maximise its entry into your home. In conclusion, even if you are only able implement some of the methods talked about in this piece, it’ll still be an improvement. If you already have, then congratulations to you! Having increased natural light entering our homes has unimaginable positives. Furthermore, once your home is natural-light-maximised, you will never stop receiving its many benefits, even if you don’t notice them. Thank you for reading.
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