How Important Is Natural Light for Your Health?
We have been using natural light to enrich indoor spaces for centuries (a practice known as daylighting).
In fact, it’s thought that the Romans in the 1st century BCE were the first to use glass windows to allow more natural light into buildings while protecting the occupants from the elements.
However, when electrical lighting improved in terms of both efficiency and effectiveness, the need for daylighting (sadly) diminished.
But these days we’re becoming far more aware of the physical and mental health benefits of natural light. That’s why Roof Maker rooflights are designed to let in more light than many of our competitors.
So this blog aims to highlight why allowing more natural light into your home is still as beneficial for your health as it’s ever been – not to mention how much it can save you in energy costs.
1. Natural light boosts human performance
A study in 1999 found that students with the most daylighting in their classrooms scored as much as 26% higher in standardised tests than comparable counterparts who relied mainly on artificial light (Source: Heschong Mahone Group of Sacramento, California).
Likewise, research from 2013 also tells us that employees working in environments with more natural light had higher levels of energy than those in artificially-lit workplaces (Source: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology).
Both pieces of research confirm what many others have shown: natural light boosts human performance.
2. Natural light improves your mood
There’s a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which affects some people during the winter. Not to be mistaken for the less severe ‘winter blues’, SAD causes people who have normal mental health throughout the year to feel depressed in winter. Common symptoms include overeating, sleeping too much and having extremely low energy levels.
The reason SAD tends to affect people more in the winter is simply because the days are shorter and the nights are longer, meaning we are exposed to less natural light, which can lead to a drop in serotonin levels and bring on depression.
3. Natural light boosts vitamin D storage
When we are directly exposed to sunlight, our skin makes vitamin D from our cholesterol. Known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D is important for a number of reasons, including helping to maintain bone and teeth health, supporting the immune system, regulating insulin and supporting lung function and cardiovascular health.
4. Natural light improves sleep
The amount of sunlight you are exposed to during the day has a direct impact on how well you sleep at night. Specifically, getting at least 30 minutes of direct early morning sunlight produces the biggest benefit.
The reason why early morning sunlight has such a large impact on sleep is all to do with ‘circadian rhythms’ – our 24-hour biological cycles. These cycles dictate when we feel sleepy and by exposing ourselves to natural light first thing in the morning, we reset our body clocks and that increases our chances of falling asleep faster in the evening.
5. Natural light benefits vision
The modern world we live in sees our eyes exposed to computer screens, smartphones and fluorescent light on a regular basis. This can cause headaches, eye strain and lead to more serious eye problems in the future.
By reducing our reliance on artificial light, we can in turn reduce our chances of developing permanent eye problems.
Furthermore, research shows that natural light lowers the risk of nearsightedness (myopia) and aids healthy eye development in children. This is because natural light helps children’s eyes produce dopamine (a key chemical for healthy eye growth) and encourages their eyes to maintain the correct shape and length, which keeps vision in focus.
How Roof Maker can help
Did you know that rooflights let in up to three times more natural light than vertical windows? So, if you want a cost effective way to flood your home with natural light, look no further than a rooflight (or two).
Rooflights are usually more cost effective (and less hassle) than creating new window openings – and you may not even need any planning permission to install them.
Not sure which of our high-quality rooflights is right for you? Take advantage of our rooflight selector now and discover what your options are.