Being able to enjoy natural light is something very beneficial for our health. In fact, a recent survey reveals how the 82% of Spaniards claim that natural light influences their mood. This study also shows how more than half of Spaniards believe that natural light influences sleep quality, affecting their productivity as well.
This global survey is part of a report that highlights the importance of living in healthy homes and the small changes that can be made to improve living environments and daily exposure to natural light. The initial findings of the report The Indoor Generation have revealed that, approximately,one fifth (18%) spends most of the day in indoor spaces, between 21 and 24 hours.
This study supports the World Health Organization's research documenting that we spend up to 90% of our time indoors, away from the life-giving sources of nature.
As the days become shorter and colder, the importance of getting enough natural light becomes, without a doubt, essential. A report published by the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada, suggests that the inhabitants of Western countries may not be having adequate exposure to natural light and this could be detrimental to their health and well-being.
Proper exposure to natural light during the day helps you sleep better at night
Numerous studies have also shown the role of natural light in favor of a good rest during the night, while highlighting the negative impact of the lack of daylight on health³.
The human biological clock is synchronized through the different levels of natural light that it collects in a period of 24 hours, we need a lot of light during the day and darkness during the night to guarantee the quality of sleep. Some of the consequences caused by lack of sleep include depression, diabetes, heart disease and weight gain. Other side effects related to lack of sleep are the greater risk of work accidents, less concentration and low mood, as well as difficulties in making decisions³.
Natural light can also help improve productivity
The 63% of people surveyed by YouGov claim that natural light influences their productivity. The link between daylight and productivity in the office has also been widely researched and several studies show that natural light and exterior views increase work performance.
The workers of a call center they process calls between a 6% and a 12% faster when they have better views to the outside compared to those that do not have them³. In addition, office employees have obtained results between a 10% and a 25% better in mental and memory tests performed when they had the best possible view, compared to those who did not.
The best tips to improve sleep quality
- Greater exposure to natural light that helps you sleep at night: sitting near a window at work, school or university and making an effort to go outside will help with this task.
- Remove light from outside to enter the bedroom at night.
- Sleep in a cooler room.
- Avoid electronic devices that emit blue light (television, smartphones, tablets) before going to sleep, because it can trick the brain into staying alert at the wrong time.
- Establish a good routine when going to bed: better read a book instead of spending more time in front of a screen
- Give children a red or orange night light if they are afraid of the dark, since they are the ones that interrupt sleep the least.