Benefits of Natural Lighting

We all crave good lighting whether it be for a pic/video, or in general in our homes and workplace.  As a matter of fact, according to the Harvard Business Review a future workplace employee experience study found that “78% of employees say access to natural light and views improves their wellbeing and 70% report improved work performance.”

Often you will find workplaces designed where the executives have large windows at the top level of the building, whereas lower level employees have very minimal to no exposure to natural light at the bottom level of the building.  This has a detrimental effect to everyone on site and that is why it is vital that employers recognize that the actual workplace setting is part of employee engagement and a key aspect of attracting and retaining talented workers.

As for the health benefits, there are many to mention including:

  1. Increased Vitamin D exposure – Your skin absorbs more Vitamin D, which is an essential nutrient for your body. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, weight gain, bone loss, and various cancers to name a few.
  2. Defend against seasonal depression – Fall and Winter can outwardly feel very enjoyable with the change in colors and the sight of snow. However, inwardly about 6% of the population experience major depressive disorder and another 14% experience the “winter blues” aka seasonal affective disorder.
  3. Improves sleep – Mental health and sleep are closely associated and affect one’s mood. A number of studies including the one in my blog reveal that natural exposure of light and a well-rested sleep have positive impacts to employee productivity and engagement.
  4. Minimizes health risks of fluorescent lighting – Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are generally considered safe, but for some people prolonged exposure as your main light source, could increase your risk for eye strain and migraines.

As to how to get more natural light in your house:

  1. Mirrors on the wall – As we know, light bounces all over open space and to have a room with mirrors, natural light will effortlessly continue to bounce all around the room. You may want to add a metallic sheen to increase sunlight exposure.  Some homes have skylights which adds extra sun exposure directly into hour home.
  2. Abandon the drapes – Curtains may look lovely and elegant; however, removing them from your home will allow for not only space but valuable sunlight which is hard to find in Metro Vancouver. In addition, many who have allergies to dust mites will find the removal of drapes and carpets benefit their immune system.  An alternate would be keeping blinds to keep your circadian rhythm on track.
  3. Colour cleverly – Reflective colours aren’t just for the road. One can implement eye-catching colours to your home.  White is the most reflective color, so colours close to white can add brightness and a natural finish to your rooms.  The largest source of darkness in a room may be the floor.  Hence, light coloured flooring or a small rug will assist with brightening up the room!
  4. Get out whenever possible – Some may have restrictions to their ability to make changes in their home or workplace, but that doesn’t mean you can’t step outside for quick stroll. A great way would be to break free for a walk during your lunch break.
  5. Supplement your Vitamin D intake – At the very least, consult with your Doctor and ask if Vitamin D meds is a solution for you. It’s estimated that over 1 billion people are deficient in this very important nutrient including sunny areas of the world!

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