Tablets, TVs and video games provide hours of entertainment for children. Many parents use them to occupy their kids while they finish household chores and/or just get some much-needed downtime themselves.
But short screen time sessions here and there can often turn into several hours at a time. After all, the kids are engrossed and the grownups are enjoying some peace and quiet. The problem though is that extended periods of screen time are not good for kids’ health.
Just recently, in April 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued new guidelines on physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep for children under 5 years of age. Part of those guidelines focus on screen time and advise that children shouldn’t get too much of it.
However, the WHO guidelines are actually less about the health risks of screen time itself and more about encouraging kids to do more physical activity – like the kind they inevitably get when they play outdoors.
In addition to helping combat obesity and improving children’s social skills, playing outside also affords benefits because of the exposure kids get to natural light and fresh air – and that brings us to the main subject of today’s post: the health benefits of natural light and fresh air for children.
Research shows that natural light helps boost our mental health. That’s because sunlight stimulates our brains to produce serotonin, a chemical linked with feelings of wellbeing and happiness. Serotonin also helps prevent us from eating too much and promotes a better night’s sleep, as well as aiding our memory too.
Lack of sunlight is also thought to contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, which is often known as winter depression. As serotonin levels drop, so too does our mood and that can lead to depression.
Like natural light, fresh air also helps us feel cheerier. That’s because our bodies benefit from more oxygen when we are breathing outdoor air, which boosts serotonin levels. More oxygen also helps us feel more energetic, improves our concentration skills and makes our brains function better. That’s why you often feel brighter and more alert when you’ve just come back in having spent time outside.
In a nutshell, natural light and fresh air are both extremely beneficial for kids.
Now you could be forgiven for thinking it’s just plants that metabolise sunlight. But actually we humans do too. Our bodies convert sunlight into vitamin D via a complex bio-chemical process.
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is important for a number of reasons. It helps maintain healthy bones and teeth, strengthens the immune system, aids the regulation of insulin levels and supports lung function and cardiovascular health.
Natural light also reduces eye strain, which can lead to damaged eyes. Furthermore, natural light is particularly important when it comes to developing healthy eyesight in children. That’s because a lack of sunlight can disrupt the production of dopamine, which helps children’s eyes develop properly.
As we’ve already mentioned, fresh air increases the amount of oxygen we breathe. This helps lower our blood pressure and heart rate, improve our digestion and clean our lungs, reducing lung-related illnesses associated with mould and poorly ventilated environments.
More oxygen also helps our white blood cells function better, which boosts their effectiveness in the fight against bacteria, germs and diseases.
How Roof Maker can help
Now you might be wondering, what’s this all got to do with Roof Maker?
Well… we manufacture and supply rooflights that are designed specifically to maximise the amount of natural light in your home, plus our range of opening rooflights will help you and your kids to benefit from more fresh air too.
So, if you struggle to get your children to play outdoors and are concerned about the lack of natural light and fresh air they are getting, why not bring the natural light and fresh air to them?
And did you know that rooflights let in up to three times more natural light than ordinary windows?
So, whether you need a flat rooflight, a pitched rooflight, or a slightly more extravagant roof lantern, we have got all your needs covered to help you realise the health benefits of natural light and fresh air for children.
Are you planning on adding rooflights or roof lanterns to your home? If you are, call Roof Maker on 0116 269 6297. Our rooflight experts will help you to choose the right solution for your needs. Alternatively, visit our showroom or get a quote online.