Light for Health | Natural Light and Mental Health

After I moved into a new house, I have been going through a lot of interior decor blogs and magazine. And that is when I came across the psychology of light in architecture and realized how important it is to have a well-lit home for a complete physical and mental well-being. In fact, natural light at the workplace is also an essential component for a healthy mind. No wonder why I always preferred to sit by the window when I used to work! Natural light and mental health are deeply connected. It affects one’s mood and emotions to a great extent. That is the reason why you might feel gloomy in winters or when it is cloudy.

How are natural light and mental health connected?

Remember how in school, we were told to go out and play? Because that is important for a person’s physical growth. It’s because sunlight helps in synthesizing Vitamin D. Not just that, if you do a li’l bit of research, you will get to know that serotonin, the happiness hormone, is released by the brain depending on the exposure to sunlight. Lower sunlight results in a lower level of serotonin, which is actually one of the primary cause of depression and anxiety.

How can light affect your emotions?

The body’s internal clock regulates our internal functions. The internal clock highly depends on the external environment – light and sun. Have you ever been jet-lagged? It is because our internal body clock goes for a toss when you travel between time zones and everything gets disrupted – our eating cycle and our sleep cycle. This is one of the examples of how the external environment is playing with us internally. Lighting disrupts our certain functions too like energy level, mood and even the hormones our body produces. My menstrual cycle also suffers when I travel from one time zone to another across the globe!

How Light can effect your mental health | Natural Light and Mental Health

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Get that natural light!

If you are also a slave to the modern lifestyle – we all are- and spend most of your time indoors, become a sun-seeker in your own ways. There are a lot of things that you can do to have as much light as you feel is right for you. For example, you can do the following at your workplace –

  • Request for cleaning of the windows to allow as much natural light as possible
  • Request to change that flickering bulb
  • Use lamps on your desk if you feel the overhead fluorescent lights are not enough for you

These things can be done at your home too. You can do a lot of things at home, and honestly, you should. Living in dark houses can make you sluggish. Light makes you alert. Therefore, pull up the drapes, give yourself a beautiful early morning stretch, breathe the sun, and I promise you, you will be energized throughout the day! Here is what you can do to satisfy your craving for light:

Ditch those drapes and open those windows

I live in a very peaceful society, so for me opening the door of my balcony is a good option. Also, it’s not very cold so I can do this. I understand that during the chilly winds, opening the windows is not an option. You can opt for double glazed windows. During winters, double glazed windows will not only allow the sunlight to pour in, but they also eliminate any drafts from your windows and thus help in keeping the house warm too. So yes, less electricity bill also and it’s a win-win!

Natural Light and Mental Health | Well lit Room
My hall and kitchen gets a good amount of natural light

Get read of heavy or dark drapes. Keep them light – both in colour and weight. I have translucent blinds which let ample amount of sunlight to get in.

Natural Light and Mental Health | Light Blinds
I have white blinds which are great for letting the light pour in!

Choose your colours wisely

Reflective colours are suitable for walls. White is the best reflector of light. However, you can choose light pastel shades, which are closer to white and makes your room look bright and cheerful! 

Natural Light and Mental Health |My Bedroom
My bedroom is well lit with light coloured walls and carpet.

Similarly, dark floors are not the best thing to get if you are a sun-seeker. Light-coloured rugs are a good option! 

Add mirrors or get some mirror sheen

A mirror reflects light and sunlight from a window can definitely help in casting more light between the four walls! 

I am scared of mirrors, and if you are too, you can opt for metal (brass or copper) decorative items which can reflect light well. Just keep them at a place where they receive direct light! 

Get as much light as you can during your gloomy days – go out, pair that time with physical activities or a quiet reading time! Happy lighting!

Natural Light and Mental Health | Well lit Room
This is my cosy corner. It doesn’t get direct sun before 2 PM, so a great place to read and write!

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  1. I said the next time I move I want a place where I get enough natural light. If its good for my plant its definitely good for me!

  2. I agree with everything you wrote. The one thing I hate living in Florida is the summer months. It’s so hot you need to keep the curtains closed and shades down. It can get very depressing

  3. I love natural light. I have french doors that open up to my deck and I always have them open. I love how the light shines in through the glass.

  4. This is such a great post! I always find myself opening up windows and trying to get as much natural light in my house as possible when I’m feeling anxious or irritated and now I know why! I always figured that natural light is good for a person but you having broke it all down makes total sense! Thanks so much for sharing your tips and knowledge!

  5. Yes light does affect our mental health and well being over a period of time is what I have come across earlier too. I love your cozy corner. The perfect place to relax and write.

  6. I couldn’t agree more. when it’s sunny everything feels better or at least for me.I think it really helps if you have your apartment bright and light, it makes you generally feel better. and everyone knows mental health affects body greatly.

  7. Interesting how important natural light is for our health and mood. It’s important to spend time in a place with light even if it is inside.

  8. I love big windows and lots of natural light in the house. I definitely feel much better with lots of light around me.

  9. I live in the Northeast of the US and was just having this conversation with someone about the importance of light. I feel my mood change drastically in the cold winter when I go to work and it’s dark and come home and it’s dark. In between those hours we’re stuck with artificial light. I try to spend as much time outside as possible during nice weather and take in some fresh air and light. Great decorating tips and beautiful apartment.

  10. I am a light fanatic (also open window fanatic, but that’s for another day). Tnankfully, I live in an apartment with large windows and I leave the curtains open all the time, except for when I sleep. i think I’d go mad otherwise. Thanks for the great tips!

  11. I appreciate the benefits that natural light brings to us as much as you do. I’m glad the my room has enough sunlight exposure.. I can enjoy the sunlight effortlessly.

  12. I didn’t know that natural light causes serotonin, It’s amazing. Maybe it’s okay to let my kids play under the sun and let them absorbed all the serotonin.

  13. Wow! This is interesting idea. I really need Natural light. Because at the first place you can save electricity! Go for natural! I love it!

  14. Its a simple way to maintain your mental health. Hapoy you shared this post. And yes have to agree with your thoughts having adequate natural light can bring out a positive outlook.

  15. I am absolutely agree with you that natural light will help you and will give you elevates a good mood.

  16. I too believe that natural light is good for our mental health. I dislike my workplace sometimes because I am trapped in a room with no natural light. I love my apartment though because I am able to use a lot of natural light during the day.

  17. I totally agree. Natural light has the ability to elevate one’s mood. It literally and figuratively brings sunshine into your life and that’s a good thing. That’s also why our house has sheer and light curtains. It allows much of the light in, and we can simply draw it to the side to let more light in.

  18. This is so interesting. I learn a lot from this article. I never thing that light can help our mood everyday. This is so great! I am now planning to make my room more light. Because before I really love dark. And it only benefits my sleep. LOL

  19. I worked the night shift for a decade and my body did not like that at all. My circadian rhythm was disrupted and I ended up being cranky and sickly too. Thankfully, I was able to start my own business and I got out of that night duty job. Natural light does have its healthy benefits!

  20. Oh yes! Essential, all of this! I’ve been reading about this too recently, natural lighting helps regulate our body’s Circadian cycle as well. Such a picturesque home btw! 💕

  21. I wrote an article recently about the benefits of light and how it helps to regulate our sleep. We need a little bit of daylight during the day to create seratonin, which will convert into melatonin when it’s time for sleep!

  22. Quite interesting theories about natural light. I’d subscribe to the idea that it makes a huge difference to wellbeing. I know from going camping that your body clock adjusts to real light cycles!

  23. The science behind this is so interesting! I used to live in a basement apartment when I was much younger and the dark/gloominess definitely had an adverse affect on me. Love these tips!

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