Light Up Your Life: How Windows Contribute to Improved Mental Health
If you’re struggling to keep up with ordinary daily challenges, you might talk to your doctor or even your counselor about why you have trouble concentrating or why you’re feeling down. These professionals can give you necessary help and advice. As you consult with these professionals, you can also care for your mental health by speaking with a window specialist.
Natural light has an extraordinary effect on your mental health. If your home is dark, has bad window treatments, or does not have very many large or well-placed windows, it’s time to consider what increased daily light could do for your life. Here’s how windows can boost your emotional and mental well-being.
Decreased Energy Use
You might think it silly to tout cost savings as a method of increasing your mental health, but it’s true. Many people who feel blue or stressed worry about their finances. Natural lighting is one of the easiest ways to reduce the electricity usage in your home, therefore reducing your monthly bill. If you can enlarge your windows or simply leave the treatments open more, you can enjoy beautiful lighting while saving money.
If you’re worried about heating and cooling loss, know that modern windows are more efficient than ever—having large windows shouldn’t make much of an impact on your heating bills if the windows are high-quality.
Check around your house, especially the rooms you consider to be “dark” like those on the west or north sides, and see if you can expand or enlarge the current windows to bring more light to the room. These “dark” rooms benefit the most from natural light because they will have less direct sunlight throughout the day, making them pleasant to work in, as they won’t have much glare or thermal heating.
Physical and Mental Healing
One 1984 study showed that patients who had large windows with a view of nature recovered more quickly from surgery than those who did not have access to natural light. They also needed fewer painkillers during recovery.
Further scientific research is being done on how light can be an effective pain killer. Some more modern studies show that exposure to yellow light (one of the light colors in the spectrum of white, natural light) can temporarily slow neuron response to pain receptors. Those with chronic pain may eventually have an alternative to opiates and other heavy pain medication.
Many new office buildings place a priority on natural lighting simply because studies show that employees at work are generally more happy and productive in the presence of plenty of natural light. Instead of the yellowish green of interior lighting, natural light inspires more energy and nature positivity about the work environment.
Studies show that people who are exposed to natural light during the day better at problem solving and mental clarity. Spending all day in a dark or closed off room has the opposite effect: all workers without windows perform less effectively.
The same principles apply at home. Do you have trouble working in your kitchen because it’s too dark for you to feel inspired? It might be worth it to expand your one small kitchen window into a larger bank of windows, even if it means losing a cabinet or two. If there’s no room for a window, consider installing French patio doors or doors with windows to improve the light quality in dark rooms.
You could also speak with a glass company about the possibility of installing a skylight if you have no walls for additional windows. Skylights can even be used on main floor rooms in a two-story house through the use of mirrors that direct the light down a tube and into the room.
Natural light brings with it a feeling of cleanliness and ability. It also boosts the production of vitamin D, which can help combat feelings of depression.
Exposure to natural light can release a natural antidepressant called serotonin. Serotonin is a mood-booster, and it is more available to people who spend longer amounts of time in the sun. With clear, large windows, sunlight pours in, allowing for all the benefits without the harm of UV rays, since modern windows are treated to prevent UV light from entering through the glass.
Exposure to bright, natural light during the day improves your circadian rhythm, especially if you get the light in the morning. Since the sun rises in the east, try to leave window treatments open on your east-facing windows in the morning.
The more exposure you have to the sun’s natural lighting, the better your body will be at creating melanin and feeling tired after the sun has gone down. Your home should not be a refuge from the natural cycle of the day, but should reflect it as best as possible.
Natural lighting benefits your home value and appearance, but even more importantly, it benefits your health. Many mid-century and early modern homes did not place a priority on maximizing lighting in the home, but you can make the change and experience all the positive results. Contact us at the Central Glass Company for more information on how to bring more light to your home.