Lighten Up At Home
We bang on about the benefits of natural light a lot here, but that's because it's such an important aspect of overall health. Natural light is an...21st March 2019
There are many reasons why a person may have difficulty sleeping. Pain, worry, children and uncomfortable sleep environment all factor in – all of which can be difficult to tackle. However, an increasing number of studies have revealed a further factor that significantly impacts upon the type of sleep we achieve. You might be surprised how much natural light can effect our circadian rhythms and sleep patterns.
Circadian rhythms are usually known as the body clock. Basically this is made up of biological, mental and behavioural patterns that follow a 24 hour cycle. These patterns respond to light and darkness within your environment. All living things work to their own circadian rhythm. These then dictate a multitude of important bodily functions. Most of them, including the sleep-wake cycle, are influenced by the amount of natural blue light that reaches the pineal gland, via the retina. In short, without enough natural light, our brains find it difficult to work out how much sleep we need and when to take that sleep.
The older we become, the more important natural light exposure can be. The deterioration of our eyes means that we need more light to produce the same amount of essential chemicals. The chemicals serotonin and melatonin govern our circadian rhythms and are vital to our wellbeing. This is why so many of us suffer as a result of our lifestyles.
With long working days, often in windowless spaces, and shifting light patterns across the year, we need to do all we can to boost the amount of natural light our bodies receive. In the winter months many of us can pass our working week without seeing daylight at all! As such, we become sluggish, irritable, less productive, frequently depressed and often have difficulty sleeping. To combat this, you need to become far more proactive when seeking out sources of natural light.
A study conducted by Chicago’s Northwestern University shows that those spending daytime in naturally lit spaces, achieve an average 46 minutes of extra sleep each night.
This is where glazing in the home, comes in!
British weather is notoriously unpredictable, so while spending more time outdoors would be a simple light-gaining solution, it’s not always practical. Instead, we’d recommed making sure the interiors of your home take in as much natural light as possible. There are plenty of ways to do this. Bi-folding doors, sliding doors, skylights and new windows will all maximise your natural light exposure. That way, even when it’s stormy outside, you can ensure you’re always taking in the highest possible levels of light available to you.
Your brain doesn’t need it to be sunny to produce regulatory chemicals, it just needs natural light. So, whether you use it for reading, relaxing, working, dining or whatever takes your fancy, introducing more of it into the home should also increase your much-needed shut-eye.
If you need even more reasons, consider the decrease in electricity payments natural light will bring with it. So that’s lower household bills, happier householders and lighter, brighter spaces for all to enjoy. Oh…and a great excuse for that new set of bi-folding doors to boot! What are you waiting for?
 Psychology Today.
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