The Health Benefits of Natural Light

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It’s a photographer’s best friend, a selling point for homes, and a major perk for office employees: natural light.

As a general rule, most of us would prefer to live out our lives under the warmth of the sunrather than under the buzz and glare of fluorescent bulbs. In fact, a recent survey, as reported by The Harvard Business Review, confirms just how much natural light means to the average person.

According to Future Workplace’s survey, over 1,600 employees ranked “access to natural light and views of the outdoors” as their number one desire for a workplace environment.

This came over and above other perks like fitness centers and on-site childcare.

If you’re among the many who crave more sun, it’s interesting to note that pure sunlight isn’t just a nice little plus to casting a homey glow in your cubicle or making your food photos Insta-worthy.

Here are our top reasons to become an indoor sun-seeker, and tips to make it happen.

Health benefits of natural light

1. Boosts vitamin D

When exposed to sunlight, the skin absorbs vitamin D, a critical nutrient that prevents bone loss and reduces the risk of heart disease, weight gain, and various cancers.

The so-called “sunshine vitamin” also doesn’t discriminate based on whether you get your sunlight indoors or out.

Meaning: increasing your natural light where you spend the most time, be it home or the workplace, is equally important.

2. Wards off seasonal depression

For many people, autumn is a giddy time of crunchy leaves and all things pumpkin spice. Getting as much natural light as possible can help keep these mood changes at bay.

For about 6 percent of the population, fall kicks off a time of serious depression known as seasonal affective disorder (aka major depressive disorder with seasonal patterns).

Another 14 percent experience the less debilitating (but still significant) “winter blues.”

3. Improves sleep

Since mental health and sleep often go hand in hand, it’s not surprising that natural light affects both.

A small 2014 study of office workers revealed that the more natural light exposure they received, the better sleep they experienced.

4. Reduces health risks of fluorescent lighting

The more time you spend in a source of natural light, the less time you’ll likely spend in the unnatural light of fluorescent bulbs.

Though compact fluorescent lamps are generally recognized as safe, for some people, exposure to fluorescent light appears to elicit an elevated stress response.

With CFLs (compact florescent light bulbs) as your main light source day in and day out, this could increase your risk for migraines and eye strain.

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