You know that feeling when you wake up on a summer morning and the sunlight is gleaming through your window? The day is brighter, your mind is clearer, and you can pretty much do anything.
What about when the sun finally appears after a rainy day and you’re instantly filled with a sense of warmth and happiness?
Why does this happen?
Why do we feel happy when there’s light and want to get under the covers when there isn’t any?
This is what researchers have been trying to figure out for years. Thankfully, each study brings us one step closer to uncovering the power of light in making us the happiest we can possibly be.
Think about this: what do you do to get better when you’re sick?
Unfortunately, most people tend to reach for pills that only reduce the severity of their symptoms.
What if we told you that you didn’t have to reach for the cough syrup or sleeping pills to feel better?
What if the secret was already built into your home?
One study, published by The Center for Health Design, analyzed the impact of light on the health and performance of human beings.
Although the study focused on light in hospital settings, the type of light available in such settings are often so extreme (with stark bright fluorescent light and few windows), that it creates the perfect baseline for measuring light’s impact in other places, such as your home or office.
Additionally, hospitals are the perfect place to assess the health of an individual after certain light exposure since most people there are ill in one way or another and hoping to feel better.
But how does light really affect you?
The aforementioned study found that people need a certain amount and type of exposure to light for optimum well-being and peak performance. According to the researchers, these needs can be met with a combination of natural and artificial light.
The research also suggests incorporating natural light into lighting design for mental and physical benefits, since it is free to use and the preferred option of most individuals.
So, how does it help you?
Your Internal Clock
Light helps to program your body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, to help improve your overall well-being. Your circadian rhythm is what causes you to have more or less energy at different times throughout the day. If your rhythm is “off”, you might feel drowsy in the middle of the day but have tons of energy at night.
If you’ve ever felt this way, you may need to assess the lighting in your living space.
Also referred to as your sleep/wake cycle, your circadian rhythm is significantly affected by the light around you. When you’re surrounded by more light, your body is alert and attentive and when your surroundings lack light, you lose energy and performance ability.
If you’re wondering how to improve sleep quality, use the lighting around you to regulate your sleep/wake cycle. During the day, keep bright lights on in your home and use lamps at your desk to keep you alert while working.
At night, start dimming the lights and using less of them to get your body to wind down. You’ll feel more alert when you wake up—and might not even need your alarm clock—thanks to light’s influence on your circadian rhythm.
If you use lights correctly throughout the day, you will get adequate sleep by sleeping longer every night. But most importantly, you’ll feel your best the next day. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of shuteye every night.
This benefit is self-evident: when you get better sleep, you’re in a better mood. And when you go through your day with a smile on your face, your (and everyone else’s) day is that much better.
This is why we tell our kids to take a nap if they’re feeling cranky. But this practice shouldn’t stop at childhood. Adults also need sufficient sleep to stay happy.
Believe it or not, the right amount of sleep can do wonders for your mental health. When your environment is lit up with natural or artificial lights, you feel happier.
Researchers have discovered a previously unknown type of photoreceptor cell (called intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells) in your mammalian retina that detects light and relays information to your brain to help regulate your mental well-being.
Now that you know how to improve sleep quality and how to improve mood swings, how can you get the benefits of light in your own home?
The idea is to have the lights in your home mimic the natural patterns of the sun. By doing so, your circadian rhythm syncs up with the natural environment and your daily routine. When natural light isn’t available, artificial light can work as well.
Hånsen Lighting offers a variety of lighting options for installation throughout your home so you can feel the way you should at any time of day.
About Hånsen Lighting
Hånsen Lighting doesn’t just offer lighting options that beautify your home. We provide solutions that promote the Danish concept of “hygge”, so you can feel cozy and happy all day.
As you use different lights throughout the day, your sleep quality and physical well-being are improved.