Natural light in your home gives a positive impression of space, airiness and light as well as enhancing your sense of wellbeing. Sunlight kills bacteria and mold, so exposure to it promotes a healthier home environment. Natural light is also a mood enhancer and effective in combating stress.
Lift your spirits
If you spend day after long day working or at school under artificial lighting and with little access to daylight you are more likely to feel tired and low-spirited. Scientists have been examining the connection between sunlight and mood for some time, and those involved in studying Seasonal Depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), have gathered evidence that suggests that when your exposure to sunlight is decreased, either through work or at home, there is a shift in how your internal biological clock functions. As this regulates hormones, mood and sleep patterns it appears that in order to reset it you need to increase your exposure to light.
People who have homes in countries that have limited amounts of daylight at certain times of year, such as northern parts of Europe – for example, Norway, Sweden and Finland – experience what are known as Polar Nights. This means, quite simply, that there are days on end when the sun doesn’t rise above their horizon at all and their homes are simply not exposed to natural daylight. You can imagine how their homes suffer from being dark and dingy, and of course winter depression is a major problem in these countries. Even if you don’t have SAD and don’t live in Norway everyone in your home will benefit from increased exposure to natural light.
Let in the light
While you can opt for structural changes, such as enlarging window openings or knocking down walls to let in more light, these can be expensive to implement. Two alternatives are to install glazed rather than solid internal doors and use minimal window treatments – which means making sure you expose all the glazing and don’t obscure any part in a way that blocks out natural daylight.
For example, fancy drapes or blinds that come with matching pelmets, valances or whatever will reduce the amount of light entering your rooms. Wooden shutters, on the other hand, can be fitted around the interior of your window frame and, with adjustable louvers, will help you control precisely the amount of light that enters.
Improve your focus
Remember also that exposure to daylight helps to keep you alert and attentive. This means you will improve how you focus on tasks and become more productive, and also that the quality of the work you undertake will benefit. While a quick walk in the sunlight during your lunch hour will help, it would be much better if your workplace and your home made the most of natural light so that you have regular exposure to it and the opportunity to make the most of its energizing qualities.