Health, Happiness and Sunlight Closely Linked

Everyone loves a bright sunny home, but who would have thought that those good ole’ natural rays could have such a profound impact on you?

Recent studies reveal that natural light not only brightens your home, but actually boosts your spirits and keeps you healthier.

An Indoor Society

Lifestyles today have changed to the extent that as much as 90 percent of our time is spent indoors, away from natural light. Daniel F. Kripke, a researcher with the University of California San Diego, surveyed adults in San Diego, who wore wrist meters to register the amount of sunlight they received during the day.

The study found that the majority was only exposed to sunlight for less than one hour per day and some did not go outdoors at all during a 48-hour period.

Of course, most of us do not have the luxury of being outdoors as much as we would like. That is why daylighting – techniques which optimize the use of natural light to illuminate interiors – is becoming increasingly popular not only for its ability to dramatically transform a room, but also for its natural healing powers.

Lighten Up: Moods and Light Go Hand in Hand

The power of light to rejuvenate the body and mind – treating everything from lethargy to “winter blahs” to clinical depression – has been suspected for thousands of years, but only recently have scientific studies revealed evidence of the correlation.

One of the largest studies on the use of light to treat clinical depression was published in 1992 in the journal Biological Psychiatry. Dr. Kripke administered light treatment to 25 depressed hospitalized patients at a VA hospital.

Patients who were exposed to natural white light were significantly less depressed than those in artificial light.

An estimated 90 percent of humans suffer from seasonal mood changes during the winter months and up to 10 percent of those suffer from the condition known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, characterized by fatigue, gloom, change in appetite, fitful sleep and despair.

The most effective treatment for these symptoms is, quite naturally, exposure to more light. Studies indicate that the time between sunrise and sundown is the key factor in SAD, rather than the lack of sunny days or cold temperatures.

Natural Lighting Solutions

Bringing natural light indoors is easy and there are a number of options, including

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