The benefits of natural light

A team of scientists at Northwestern University in Chicago produced a study into the effects that a windowless environment has upon office workers. The study demonstrates that there is a distinct relationship between the worker’s exposure to natural sunlight and his or her sleep, physical wellbeing and general quality of life.

The study followed two groups. One worked in an office with natural light, while another worked in a windowless environment. It was found that both the physical and psychological health of the second group was tangibly diminished as a result of their working environment.

The clear takeaway from this study is that commercial workspaces with an abundance of natural light will benefit the health of the workers. Logically, the same would apply for domestic properties. Here are some of the benefits to be had by working in a commercial or domestic building with lots of natural daylight.

It alleviates seasonal depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition where a person feels depressed during the frostiest months of the year, typically December, January and February. Although the cold temperature and grey skies can dampen everyone’s moods, this a genuine med for this condition too. It is suggested that the lack of natural daylight and vitamin Daffects the brain’s chemistry, impacting the production of serotonin which is essential for mood regulation. For those who feel blue during the winter, access to as much natural daylight as possible may help you to feel more upbeat.

It alleviates eye strain

If your job involves a lot of time in front of the computer, natural light is absolutely essential in order to reduce eye strain. Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) is a common affliction where the symptoms include: blurred vision, bloodshot eyes, headaches and eye strain. Overhead fluorescent lighting (common in office environments) makes your eyes work significantly harder when staring at a screen, thus resulting in CVS. What’s the best solution for this? A window bringing in the natural daylight, located at a 90 degree angle from your screen. Simple, but incredibly effective!

Improves sleeping

Unnaturally intense lighting is one of the contributing factors to a disturbed circadian cycle. Natural sunlight on the other hand results in improved melatonin (the hormone which helps you to sleep) production at night, helping you to get to sleep quicker and improving the quality of your sleep too. This is particularly important for older people who have age-related sleep maintenance problems.

Cheaper electricity bills

Okay, so this point doesn’t directly relate to physical or mental health, but it’s still important! More natural daylight means cheaper electricity bills, particularly for commercial buildings which are often over-illuminated. Provided your doors and windows are of a high quality and keep the house insulated, your bills should be positively impacted if your property lets in an adequate amount of natural light.

Natural light is important

In the past, humans never had a problem with receiving adequate amounts of natural sunlight, but with contemporary office jobs and the rise of telecommuting, it’s easy to miss out. The best long-term solution to this is for buildings to be designed with multiple windows to allow the natural light in. To take this a step further, conservatories are a great addition to a home if you are looking to catch the sun everyday without having to deal with the elements. For advice on both conservatories and windows for your home, please don’t hesitate to get in contact for a free consultation.

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