Five Ways Natural Light Improves Human Health

By Torrin Greathouse | May 23, 2017

Despite the broad range of benefits living under natural light provides, our society is extremely tied to our use of artificial lighting. What may surprise you is the fact that this could be harming our health. By replacing artificial lights with daylighting, it is possible to counteract and overcome these harmful effects. Below are five specific ways in which natural lighting can improve your health.

Control Circadian Rhythms

Many artificial lighting products overproduce blue spectrum light, which can destabilize human sleep cycles by limiting the production of melatonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for controlling sleep. Natural light on the other hand, reinforces a standard day-night sleep schedule, helping to prevent insomnia. This prevents grogginess and improves mental acuity in the workplace.

Protects Visual Health

Recent studies have linked inconsistent flickering artificial lighting to the rise in myopia and stress induced migraines worldwide, with myopia rising 20-30% since the 1970s. Greater exposure to natural light, however, can counteract these effects, supporting visual health. This ease of sight also directly affects workplace efficiency and has been shown to be linked to a 6-16% increase in productivity.

Reduces Risk of Injury

In many workplaces, injury is also a significant risk to health, particularly facilities where heavy machinery is used. High quality natural lighting can improve vision quality, depth perception, and color rendition, making it easier for employees to spot and avoid harm. Prince Street Technologies found that after integrating daylighting their workers compensation suits due to injury were reduced by as much as a factor of 20.

Boosts Immune System

Spending time in the sunlight is shown to stimulate the production and maintenance of vitamins C and D. Maintaining healthy levels can be vital to preventing illness. One analysis showed that those who work under artificial light take, on average, 6.5% more sick days than those under sunlight.

Prevents Many Conditions

Perhaps the most significant fact however, is the sheer number of medical conditions which are directly affected by lighting. Through a combination of the factors above, natural light creates a wealth of benefits. Daily exposure has been shown to aid in the prevention of multiple sclerosis, rickets, seasonal affective disorder, prediabetes, and more.

To learn more about the potential benefits of natural lighting, download our free eBook The Power of Daylighting Systems in Building Design.
Download The Power of Daylighting In Building Design

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