We often take some of the most important things in life for granted – and light is an excellent example. With our hectic, modern lives that keep us indoors most of the time, we rarely get exposed to the perfect amount and type of natural sunlight every day. This can significantly inhibit our mental acuity, focus, productivity and some basic biological functions, such as our sleeping patterns.
Let’s take a look at all the ways light helps regulate our physical and mental health, and what you can do to get more exposure to the right types of light every day.
1. Your Circadian Rhythm
Involving a complex scheme of sleeping patterns, body temperature, and other biological needs, your circadian rhythm is deeply intertwined with the 24-hour cycle of our planet’s rotation. In order to stay healthy, our bodies need to be exposed to sunlight and darkness, and this exposure needs to coincide with the natural rhythm occurring in our environment.
Studies have shown that additional exposure to bright light after the Sun goes down confuses our bodies into staying awake for longer, even though we’re way past our natural sleep time. This means that if you watch your TV, work at a computer or use a phone, this will likely cause your bio-rhythm to change, thus leading to a less resilient immune system.
The best thing you can do as the evening sets in is dim the lights to mimic the natural stimulus of the setting Sun and avoid working strenuously with artificial lighting that will further disrupt your sleep. Moreover, you can ensure proper, healthy lighting in every room in your home, that will allow you to adapt their intensity and duration.
2. Mental Acuity
It’s a well-known fact that the best way to design a work-friendly environment is to make sure there’s plenty of natural light. When we work in a well-lit office, our brains are more alert and they can maintain proper focus for longer stretches of time, even with the most demanding of tasks. On the other hand, depriving yourself of natural light during the day can seriously diminish your work capacity and affect your performance.
While not all offices are made equal, you can brighten up your workspace and your home with led lights of the right wavelengths that will allow you to stay sharp and focused. Explore your options with manufacturers such as Superlight that ensure the highest quality selection of energy efficient, environmentally friendly lights that make use of the right wavelength ranges of blue light to safeguard your vision and boost your efficiency.
3. Regulation of Mood and Emotions
Have you noticed how you get cranky if the days are gloomy? Apparently, you have a science-backed reason to turn into a grouch if you don’t get a proper day’s worth of sunshine because the lack of light is one of the main culprits for emotional and psychological issues. Bleak, dreary weather is known for its effect on our mood, but the key lies in the absence of bright light that will stimulate our brains. This refers specifically to the amygdala, which is primarily responsible for our perception of fear, sadness, anger, and other emotions. It also affects the hypothalamus, which is involved in hormone production that affects our mood, sleep, sex drive, hunger, and thirst, as well as the release of other hormones.
These are all affected by a lack of light in such a way that if the lack of exposure persists, there’s a real risk of developing anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder and other psychological problems. While it’s much easier to take preventative measures with proper lighting in your home and walks in the daylight, consulting a professional might be the best choice along with brightening up your space for long-term benefits.
4. Immune System
Thus far, we’ve mentioned hormones, the biological clock, mood, emotional life, and productivity, so it makes perfect sense that in that tangled web of health elements, our immune system can also be affected by too much, or too little light.
Research has shown that consistent, healthy exposure to sunlight is crucial for our bodies to produce the famous vitamin D, essential for the health of our bones, muscles, but also our brains and our first line of defense: our immunity. This vitamin has been linked to the prevention of your ordinary cold and flu, but also certain autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis or type 1 diabetes. It seems logical then that during the winter months, there are more people getting sick, and it all goes back to the lack of light.
In addition to vitamin D supplements, which have been proven to boost your immunity during winter, you can keep your immunity strong with added light systems that will help you stay healthy all year long.
By creating a well-lit work environment and a bright home, you can enjoy all the health benefits that will increase your creativity, mental output, and mood. Make sure to get your feel-good share of sunshine during the summer, and find the best solution to brighten up your winter days, and your body and your mind will be forever grateful!