Sunlight is one of the healthiest and most efficient ways to illuminate your home. Like most people, I have been going outside less over the years. Studies show that 90% of our day takes place indoors. The increase in indoor activities like computers, tv, video games, and smartphones keep us indoors more than ever before.
Natural light in homes is a great way to get more time in the sun without being outside. So, what are some of the benefits we receive from natural light?
Physical Advantages of Natural Light
Humans are used to getting a lot of sunlight, and increasing your daily time in the sun can have several benefits for your health. Here are just a few of the physical benefits you can expect to see.
One of the most well-known advantages of natural light exposure is the production of useful vitamins. Your body produces both vitamin D and vitamin B in the sunlight. Vitamin D is needed to promote healthy bone and muscle growth. It increases your immune system making it easier to fight off disease. It also helps the heart and brain function better. It is a beneficial vitamin, and the best way to get it is by soaking up the sun.
Vitamin B is used in almost every major function in the body. There are eight different vitamin B complexes, and they are all very useful. One of the most apparent effects of vitamin B is creating healthy skin. With sunlight, you will see clearer skin. It can have positive impacts on skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
Natural light can help reduce the risk of nearsightedness. When the eye gets more sunlight, it produces dopamine, which helps promote healthy eye development. This leads to fewer vision problems and can help reduce eyestrain.
Sunlight helps the body produce natural appetite suppressants in the form of serotonin. By increasing your daily sun, you could be less hungry, which can help you lose weight and get healthier.
Increased Heart Health
Sunlight helps the body absorb more of a molecule called nitric oxide. Once in the bloodstream, nitric oxide can help control blood pressure and ward off heart attacks and strokes.
Better Control of your Body’s Natural Schedule
Natural light in the home can help you get your body back on a regular schedule. Sunlight decreases the body’s melatonin production, a hormone that encourages you to sleep. Lower melatonin during the day helps you sleep better at night by an average of 46 minutes. With a better sleep cycle and less melatonin during the day, you’ll have more energy when you’re awake.
Getting your body back on a proper schedule can also help with Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD. The disorder is caused by a lack of sunlight that throws off the body’s natural rhythms. It is especially common as the days get shorter and the nights get longer. People are getting less sun, which knocks their inner clock into disarray. Getting natural sunlight in your home, even when it’s too cold to go outside can help you avoid this problem.
Helping the Environment
Adding natural light to your home allows you to illuminate a room without turning on lights, saving electricity. One study shows that natural light can reduce lighting energy use by 50-70%. Using less energy helps reduce the burning of fossil fuels, which release carbon and other harmful products into the environment. Natural light in home helps protect the planet.
There was a time where adding more windows would also decrease your home’s insulation. However, with modern building materials and window options, you can get all the lighting benefits with extra windows and still keep your home insulated. With all that natural light in your home, you can save up to 30% on your monthly utility bills. That’s a saving we could all use.
Improved Psychological Well Being
Natural light can also help you feel better mentally. Sunlight can improve brain function, and It can also brighten up a person’s demeanor. Here are just a few ways that natural light can help your mental facilities and well being.
Natural light can help increase focus and productivity throughout the day. Just a few minutes in sunlight can significantly increase your alertness and attention span. Being more alert can be handy when you are trying to accomplish challenging and tedious tasks.
Better Mental Acuity
Individuals in tests have shown an increase in memory and mental function. This increase can be as high as 25% by merely being in natural sunlight. There has also been evidence of faster learning in classrooms with more natural sunlight. This increase in brain function can help anyone.
Getting 30 minutes of sunlight, especially when you first wake up, can help you alleviate and cope with stress. Natural light increases communication in the brain that helps us deal with stress and anxiety. When you are processing your emotions correctly, you will have more energy and a brighter disposition during your day.
Natural light in home can help produce endorphins, which are hormones that increase happiness. It also increases the production of serotonin, which helps with pain management. These two naturally occurring hormones will help you feel better and have a more optimistic outlook on life.
Increase the Value of Your Home
Studies have shown that adding more windows to your home can help your residence stand out on the market. Natural light helps make a space seem bigger and more spacious. This illusion helps give the buyer a feeling of getting more, even if the square footage stays the same. If you happen to have pleasant scenery outside your window, that’s just a bonus.
How to Add More Natural Light to Your Home
There are many ways you can add more natural light to your home, and it’s not just by adding more windows or a sunroom, though that will help as well. By just using these easy steps, you can increase your daily light intake without missing a moment of your busy day.
Use Brighter Colors
When you paint, always choose lighter colors that help reflect light better. Darker colors will absorb light. More reflection increases the amount of natural light that gets to you.
Open Up Your Drapes and Window Treatments
Drapes and window treatments are great when you are thinking about your privacy, but they can keep you in the dark when it comes to natural light. Open up the shades during the day whenever possible.
Add More Mirrors
Remember that scene from The Mummy, where they light up an entire treasure room using one window and a bunch of mirrors? Use that concept in your home as well. Place mirrors around your house to reflect sunlight as much as possible.
Wash the Windows
Clean windows allow more sunlight to pass through and fill your living space with more light. It might be simple, but it is very effective.
Don’t Block the Light
Position your furniture and storage spots so that you have as little as possible, blocking the light coming into the room. It is especially useful in the places that you hang out in your house the most. Watch out for items that cast long shadows, which blocks the light from getting to you.
With all of these benefits of natural light, it is easy to see why it is such a popular choice in homes. Maximizing your time in the sun can help you live a healthier and happier life. The addition of natural light will help make lasting improvements to yourself, your bank account, and the environment.
About the Author: Vince is the editor of Beyond Yard. Beyond Yard is a site all about grilling and backyard fun.
Photos by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash, Yehleen gaffney on Unsplash & Douglas Sheppard on Unsplash
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