We spend close to 90% of our day indoors. During winter this could be even longer. However, as humans, we evolved mostly outdoors. This means that by spending long periods indoors we do not get enough fresh air, spend less time with nature and get less sun. While too much sunlight can be harmful to our skin, not getting enough also brings an array of negative effects. As of late, there has been an emphasis in designing spaces that provide us with the right amount of sunlight as this has multiple benefits.
1. Save Energy and Money
The most obvious benefit of having plenty natural light in our homes is it can reduce the cost of energy as natural light will help keep a space warm and bright without the use of electricity.
It has been proven that receiving natural light both during the morning and evening increases concentration and focus. If you are feeling foggy for example try looking out the window and soaking a few sun rays. This should help you boost alertness. If you are working from home, it is important to have enough natural light as this will make you more productive than if you work in an artificially lit environment. Also, having the right amount of natural light during the day will help you regulate your sleep pattern which will make you more productive the next day.
3. Reduce Your Blood Pressure
Research has shown that sunlight alters the level of nitric oxide (NO) in the skin and blood. This in turn reduces your blood pressure. Martin Feelisch, Professor of Experimental Medicine and Integrative Biology at the University of Southampton, says “nitric oxide along with its breakdown products, known to be abundant in skin, is involved in the regulation of blood pressure. When exposed to sunlight, small amounts of nitric oxide are transferred from the skin to the circulation, lowering blood vessel tone; as blood pressure drops, so does the risk of heart attack and stroke.”
4. Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Taking in up to 30 minutes of sun in the morning can help you feel calmed an relaxed. By exposing yourself to sunlight in the morning, you are mimicking the wavelengths of daylight and become better at coping with anxiety as the light improves the communication between the regions of the bran that are central to handling emotions such as stress and anxiety.
5. Boost Your Immune System
We rely on T-cells to fight pathogens and sunlight helps wake them up. T-cells are a type of white blood cell perform a central role in our immune system. In order to be able to fight infections they must be awakened and to do so, we need vitamin D which we naturally produce when exposed to the sun.
6. Increase Your Home Value
The brighter the room, the bigger it looks. An American study has proven that people perceive the value of a property as being higher when it is brighter and has more windows which will make them more willing to pay more for it.
7. Be Happy
Natural light helps you produce serotonin which improves our mood by alleviating pain, providing us with energy and making us feel happy in general. Sunlight also increases our production of endorphins which are our “feel-good” hormones and helps prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder which is a type of depression that can occur during fall and winter related to a disruption of our circadian rhythm and decrease in serotonin and melatonin levels.
8. Increase Your Vitamin D
Your body produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Vitamin D is vital to over the functioning of over 200 genes in our bodies. The production of vitamin D influences our bones, intestines, immune and cardiovascular systems, pancreas, muscles and brain amongst many other organs and functions. Having a healthy dose of sunlight come into your home can help you get the necessary amount of vitamin D without having to think much about it.
9. Good Vision
While you shouldn’t look directly at the sun, natural light can be beneficial for your eyes. Computer screens and blue light emitted by many of our communication devises can strain our eyes causing irreparable damage. Natural light has been shown to lower the risk of near-sightedness in children and young adults by producing dopamine which aids in healthy eye development.
10. Lose Weight
Exposure to sunlight helps us produce higher levels of serotonin which in turn will make us feel less hungry. A study in 2014 found that ultraviolet radiation helps suppress obesity and symptoms of metabolic syndrome.
How To Maximise Natural Light In Your Home
Don’t block light sources with furniture and decorate using a lighter palette. You can also use mirrors to reflect natural light and avoid heavy drapes or window treatments. If you are planning on renovating your home, speak to your contractor and your architect to make sure that they are aware you want to incorporate natural light where it makes sense. We are always happy to chat about your renovation plans and help you bring your vision to life. Visit us at our office at 185 Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8QX, call us at 020 71186155 or drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org