Health and Light
Full Spectrum Natural Light Helps You Feel Better,
Be More Productive, And Live A Happier Life
Remember why the corner office with the big window is so cherished by business executives? It’s because they value the natural lighting and health benefits that window provides. Savvy business owners have known for decades that improvements to productivity, reductions in absenteeism, stress relief and a much improved general feeling of well-being is obtained through natural light. More and more they are installing natural lighting systems throughout the company and reaping the benefits in terms of both employee productivity and energy savings.
How Light Works With The Human Body
Light is used by both the skin and the eyes. Photoreceptors in the eyes convert light into electrical impulses. These photoreceptors consist of millions of light and color sensitive cells. As the electrical impulses travel the optic nerve to the brain, these impulses send a message which the hypothalamus gland uses to regulate the automatic functions of the body – body temperature, breathing, blood pressure, digestion, sexual function, moods, immune system and circadian rhythm, just to name a few. When your body receives true full spectrum light (which contains all wavelengths), your body and body functions are more naturally regulated leading to better health.
Specific Health Problems Caused By Lack of Light
Light therapy is often used to combat a very serious disorder called Seasonal Effective Disorder or SAD which is the direct result of a lack of sunlight. In some people this disorder causes a serious depression and the installation of natural lighting systems provides great relief. The theory behind this disorder is that during periods of no sunlight, the pineal gland overproduces melatonin which is well known to make us sleepy. Tiredness leads to loss of mental acuity, changes in blood pressure, heart rate, body rhythms and more. Ordinary artificial light sources cannot fix this problem but a full spectrum natural light box can make a big difference in the way a SAD sufferer feels.
The most successful treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder involve identifying how the change in daylight shifts the person's daily circadian rhythms, especially in their sleep cycle. Most people with Seasonal Affective Disorder symptoms show changes in their sleep/wake patterns and melatonin levels. Bright natural light is known to be a powerful regulator of melatonin and the sleep/wake cycle.
Working in natural light has also been shown to reduce eyestrain and the resulting crankiness that an eyestrain headache can cause. It has been used as effective therapies for relief of migraine headaches, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), insomnia & other sleep disorders, cold sores, attention deficit disorder(ADD/ADHD), stress reduction & relaxation, chronic fatigue & ME. Light therapy has also been used for pain reduction and management, the treatment of acne, wound healing and other medical applications, and even has documented germ fighting capabilities. As little as 20 minutes a day in a light therapy environment helps people feel better.
Businesses and individuals alike are realizing that by creating environments where people can enjoy natural light increases productivity, makes them less prone to negative emotions and helps them focus on tasks. No matter where you work -- in a hospital, warehouse, dentist’s office, restaurant, department store --- virtually anywhere, installing full spectrum natural lighting will improve your quality of life and help you enjoy even the smallest pleasures even more.