Happy New Year!
The earth has officially made another trip around the sun, so what could be more topical than daylight and new year's resolutions? Namely: it should be one of your new year's resolutions to incorporate more natural light into your day-to-day life.
Why's that? We'll tell ya:
The Benefits of Natural Light
It boosts vitamin D.
There's a reason vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin!" When it's exposed to sunlight, your skin absorbs this critical nutrient that prevents bone loss while reducing the risk of heart disease, weight gain, and various cancers. And vitamin D can be absorbed outside or through the windows (or skylights, wink wink) of your home and be just effective!
It wards off seasonal depression.
When the days get shorter, it's easy to feel a little glum. For some people, it's more than that though: roughly 6% of the population experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD, a major depressive disorder with seasonal patterns), while 14% experience the "winter blues." Regular exposure to natural light has the power to help alleviate the symptoms of SAD as well as those of the winter blues.
It helps you sleep.
Truly! Exposure to natural light during the day and limited exposure to light at night helps regulate your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm is your body's inner clock that alerts you of all the basics: when it's time to eat, sleep, and be active. And sunlight doesn't just help you sleep when you're supposed to; a 2014 study of office workers also showed natural light exposure led to sounder sleep, which in turn led to increased productivity while awake.
It's good for the eyes.
Yes, natural light can even help those peepers. Computer screens, smartphones, and florescent light can all cause eye strain, which can lead to permanent eye damage. Good old natural daylight, on the other hand, has been shown to lower the risk of nearsightedness in children and young adults. It does this by helping the eye produce dopamine, which aids in healthy eye development.
Bringing in More Natural Light in 2020
Naturally, the easiest way to up your daylight exposure is by getting outside more. It's an unfortunate truth, however, that that's not always possible. Between home, the commute, and work, we spend roughly 90% of our time indoors.
So, this year, bring the natural light inside. Whether that's throwing open the windows or installing a skylight (or two or three) or just setting aside 10 minutes every day to sit outside (yes, it even works when it's cloudy), commit to getting more natural light in 2020.