It’s biology 101: every living being, in one way or another, relies on the sun for its continued existence. Sunshinemakes plants grow, which nurture animals. People set their daily rhythms to the movement of the sun and plan their holidays around its abundance. They play in the sunshine, bask in the sunshine, read, work and garden in the sunshine. It is essential.
But what exactly is it that makes natural light so imperative to humans’ daily mental and physical wellbeing? And what are some things you can do to increase your intake of natural light? If you’re curious about how it works and how you can benefit, this article is here to help you.
Why Natural Light?
Aside from the overarching fact mentioned above – that living beings need the sustenance the sun facilitates – there are more specific reasons why natural light is so essential.
Chiefly, natural light keeps you healthy. Your body requires sunlight to turn cholesterol into Vitamin D (dubbed the “sunshine vitamin” in the medical community.) Vitamin D is responsible for a host of physical benefits: healthy bones and muscles, regulated blood pressure, and protection against certain cancers and diabetes, to name a few.
Aside from these physical benefits, natural sunlight also has mental health benefits:
- Mood: Sunlight plays a critical role in mood regulation.
- A Healthy Sleep Schedule: Your body’s natural circadian rhythm depends on experiencing sunshine. Without proper sleep, you can become irritable, ill-focused and more prone to getting sick.
- Liveability: Lastly, natural light just makes a home more liveable. This is an intuitive conclusion more than a scientific one. Homes with natural light feel more welcoming, hospitable and comforting.
So those are the compelling reasons to get enough light in your daily diet, but how do you achieve that goal? Let’s find out.
How to Add More Natural Light to Your Life
The best way to add more life-giving natural sunlight is to install new windows and doors in your home. If your house gets inadequate sunlight, it’s likely because your windows aren’t large enough, well-positioned enough or plentiful enough. Your front entry system should also be viewed as an opportunity for sunshine; choose a front door with sidelites (narrow windows flanking the door panel.) When shopping for windows, choose ones with “Low-E” glass, which is energy efficient and allows plenty of light.
To make your home brighter, consider also installing skylights for day-long light. And to maximize the existing light in your home, choose brightly coloured furnishings and paint, and position mirrors throughout the house.
Finally, if it’s more natural light you crave, schedule daily outdoor time. This may mean walking around the block for exercise or simply enjoying a glass of wine al fresco on the front porch. Whatever opportunity you can take to get outside (even in the winter,) pounce on it!!
Sunlight is a fundamental part of a healthy life. For an essential boost of Vitamin D and a more liveable home, make natural light a priority this winter.