Daylight and its effect on people’s health and wellbeing

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Benefits of daylight | Important Statistics | Implementing Daylight Indoors

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Daylight in today’s social and professional activities

It is scientifically proven that daylight provides significant health benefits to people. However, our social and professional activities are often in conflict with our biological needs. Many of us wake up early to go to work, school or attend other activities which in most cases are indoors. Even when we go out for a cup of coffee or when we travel, we find ourselves indoors in environments with limited exposure to daylight.

Lack of daylight becomes even more critical when winter approaches, especially for the countries in the Northern Hemisphere, where winter marks the longest nights and shortest days of the year.

Furthermore, working from home has become more and more common for many of us. People are investing in home workspace ergonomics and upgrading their tech stacks. What tends to be forgotten is often the lighting conditions. The biological effect of light on humans is bigger than most people are aware of. But what are the key benefits that light presents and how does it affect us?

Benefits of daylight to our health and wellbeing

Daylight has a substantial effect on natural functions and is considered central to our wellbeing because it affects our circadian rhythm which affects our sleep quality, energy and alertness, mood, cognitive performance, and other natural functions that are important for our health and wellbeing.

Related: What are Circadian Rhythms?

Impact on sleep quality 

Studies reveal that 10-30% of the world’s population suffer from some form of sleep-related disorder. According to Sleep Association Organization statistics, 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder. Insufficient sleep can lead people to several health problems such as inadequate reasoning, lack of memory, and disturbed circadian rhythm.

Sleep - Sleep hygiene

Sleep cycles are directly linked with our circadian rhythm. A compilation of studies shows that appropriate exposure to light can adjust a disturbed circadian rhythm, which improves sleep quality and reduces depressive symptoms. Quality sleep is one of the main aspects of good health combined with healthy eating habits and regular exercise.

In addition, a balanced circadian rhythm prevents mental health issues and chronic health problems like obesity and diabetes.

Increased alertness and cognition

We’ve probably all said, “I need to go outside for a bit”. Scientifically, we are right. But it is more than just the fresh air that helps us wake up and feel more alert – it’s the light.

Besides sleep and other health benefits, daylight is also an important factor in making us more alert during the day and improving our cognitive performance. Studies show that daylight has been linked with better mood, less tiredness, and reduced eyestrain. Another important aspect is that light can contribute to higher cognitive performance and positively affect long-time memory consolidation.

Read More: Effects of Light

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