Improve your health by increasing the natural light in your home
Get some useful tips here
Natural light affects health and quality of life, so it’s very important to get enough. With people today spending an increasing amount of time indoors, we risk not getting enough natural light. In the past, people spent a lot of time outdoors and automatically got enough of thenatural light so crucial to health. This is more difficult to achieve with our modern lifestyle.According to the World Health Organization, people spend nearly 90 percentof their time indoors, which is worrying since we risk not being exposed to enough natural light. With this in mind, natural light is an important factor to consider when planninga home. Whether you’re building a new house or refurbishing an existing property,there are many things you can do to maximise the natural light.
People’s sight is physiologically adapted to daylight, which has governed our internal body clocks for millions of years. We know that getting the right quantity of light signals during the day and enough darkness at night is crucial to good general health. This is because natural light affects our circadian rhythm. Light tells the brain what time of day it is, which affects the body’s hormone production. The hormone that makes us sleepy is called melatonin. When light reaches our eyes, our body gets a signal to block the release of melatonin. Instead, the hormone cortisol is produced, which in many ways has the opposite effect to melatonin. It wakes us up,or keeps us awake.
Hormone production affects a wide range of functions, from our internal organs to our mental state. For this reason, factors such as mental clarity, sleep, enjoyment, mood and performance are also stimulated by light conditions. A lack of natural light is associated with conditions including depression, obesity and diabetes. In fact, light deficiency can trigger a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). A slightly milder version of this condition, known as Sub-SAD, is characterised by a tendency to feel tired, depressed and socially withdrawn, and can also cause insomnia.
Natural light, more specifically sunlight, also determines the body’s vitamin D production. Vitamin D is important for our skeleton and calcium absorption, and can also help prevent certain types of cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression and obesity. In short, light is a health factor that is as important as sleep, exercise and diet.
Natural light contains a high quantity of blue wavelengths, as well as many other wavelengths that our body needs. Because the human eye registers more shades of colour in natural light than in artificial light, natural light will always be the best light source. It’s not without reason that architects have started working with light as a health factor, instead of just an aesthetic factor. Although this is a new field of research, architects and engineers have started taking light compositions and circadian rhythms into account when designing buildings that people will spend a lot of time in.
If you’re planning to increase the natural light in your home, the most important thing to consider is where and how the light falls. If you’re renovating a house or building a new one, the following tips are useful to consider:
- Think about what the different rooms will be used for and try to avoid having an overhanging roof, which blocks light from the storey below.
- Enlarge the windows so that they stretch from floor to ceiling, or create several windows beside each other.
- Choose sliding doors that allow large sections to be opened, instead of traditional doors with panels or small panes.
- Choose products with the smallest possible profiles. This lets in more light and creates an unobstructed view.
- Choose glass instead of panels where possible. If you want to maximise the amount of light, opt for large glass panels in the form of glass facades or sliding doors. This lets more light in.
A wide range of energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and maintenance-free solutions are available today, offering you plenty of possibilities. It is precisely the products that come in light materials and flexible sizes that allow you to maximise the amount of natural light in your home. Optimising the light conditions in your home is an investment in your health, enjoyment and vitality.