In last week's post we talked about using natural light to be more energy efficient. If you missed it, you can read it here.
This week we are looking at reason two for needing more natural light: Better Sleep Cycle.
Have you ever experienced trouble falling asleep at night? Or staying awake at school or work during the post-lunch hours? Though it may seem counter-intuitive at first, these feelings of sleeplessness and sleepiness can be caused by the same thing: the type of lighting you are exposed to during the day. For a lot of us, this lighting is electric rather than natural sunlight, and with time, it can have a huge effect on our bodies.
All light, whether it is electric or natural, has what is called a Kelvin color temperature. Most standard electrical lighting is at 3,500 Kelvin, and remains at this level continuously. However, sunlight can reach levels up to 10,000 Kelvin, and changes throughout the day. These changes that occur in natural light throughout the day and night (moonlight has color temperature, too) are what assist our body's in regulating our circadian rhythms so that we have energy during the day and feel relaxed and ready for sleep in the evening.
Spending so much time inside, under unnatural lighting, upsets these natural rhythms, resulting in both sleeplessness and sleepiness. If you feel like your circadian rhythms are out of sync, consider how much time you spend under unnatural lighting and in front of computer and tv screens during the day. Your body might need help getting back in sync by being exposed to more natural light during the morning and afternoon. Try taking your lunch break outside in the sunshine, adding a skylight to your home or office, or turning off the tv earlier in the evening and going for a walk outside.
Check back next week for more benefits of natural light in Part Three.