Adoring The Daylight: How Light Affects Your Life
Now the sun’s out, we are all far more aware of how bright everything is. The sunshine bounces off the ultra green leaves on the trees, and the whole world looks like a shinier, happier place!
My front room is dominated by a pair of French doors that let light flood in from ceiling to floor, and it really transforms the feeling of the whole room – and my mood!
We all take it for granted in a way, but daylight, and light in general, have many, many health benefits for everyone. There are lots of new fangled light therapies out there these days, and we shall take a look at those later, but first of all we will look at the health benefits of daylight.
The days of worshipping artificial light
Between 1950 and 1965, it was a different story. New architectural methods and the boom in artificial lighting techniques meant that a lot of schools, hospitals and other governmental buildings were made with fewer windows, as these new methods were deemed to perform better than daylight itself!
In a 1990 report, though, workers in Berlin believed that work spaces with artificial lighting were a health hazard, and that vision related problems, such as eye fatigue, were far greater in those places with no daylight present. It also had a bearing on temperature and noise levels too, which had a negative effect on the working environment.
With a return of open plan working and large glass frontages, there is a turn back to using natural daylight now, and it is proven to have a positive effect on work performance and of course health benefits, not to mention the green energy efficiency, too!
Well, no-one leaves their lights on all day now, do they?!
Are you feeling SAD?
Of course, there are cases when a lack of sunlight or daylight can cause far more serious health problems. The mood disorder Seasonal Affective Disorder, where people experience depressive symptoms due to lack of light, is a horrible condition.
Thousands of people are affected every year, particularly in the winter months, but it can also affect people in the summer in countries such as the UK who still don’t get enough sunshine even in July and August.
Of course, the answer to this debilitating condition is more light, and so the invention of light box therapy was welcomed with open arms.
The light box emits more lumens that a normal light bulb. It consists of a bright white, full spectrum light at 10,000 lux, a blue light of 2,500 lux, and a green light of 350 lux. Just sitting in front of the box (eyes closed) for 30 to 60 minutes can produce melatonin suppression in sufferers, and can help people beat their depressive symptoms.
Illumatherapy – Light up my Life!
A few weeks ago I stayed at a boutique hotel, and the bath was rigged up like a disco! Once you had run the bath and closed the doors, brightly coloured lights shone out through LED’s in the side of the bath, illuminating the water into different shades of yellow, blue, green and purple. It was my most memorable bath ever!
Image by Kevin dooley
Checking it out afterwards, seems that I had just experienced illumatherapy, where different coloured lighting is assembled in a bath tub to enhance and alter the mood.
The colour wheel used in this process states that green is the colour for balance and harmony; yellow indicates humour, intellect and creativity; purple supports imagination and meditation; blue aims to promote truth and calmness, and red is for physical energy and vitality.
Apparently, different coloured lights have different wave lengths, so also have an effect on the moods and energy of a person – and that person can also absorb the coloured light, affecting hormone levels.
Well I never! I’ve got to say, I went to bed early that night in the hotel, so I must have been going through the blue and purple spectrum!
How does light affect your mood? And do you use different coloured bulbs at home to create a different mood?
Gavin Harvey is a fitness fanatic and health enthusiast. He like examples of sustainable and human-oriented architecture, blogging occasionally for Eurocell profiles, windows and doors.