HEALTH AND RESEARCH

Inadequate light exposure could lead to depression symptoms

Experts agree that taking advantage of sunlight during the day by going for walks or sun bathing

In Summary

•Light helps to control our circadian rhythms.

•Experts agree that taking advantage of sunlight during the day by going for walks or sun bathing

Image: flickr.com

I know many have been in a situation where your parent or spouse comes into the room and draws the bedroom curtains when you are sleeping, it is sometimes very irritating.

What is ironic, is they actually might be helping us, not us technically, but our mental health.

The relationship between lack of light and depression has been well documented, and the evidence that light can affect our mood and energy level seems clear.

Light helps to control our circadian rhythms. This rhythm has been established for alertness, body temperature, and promoting sleep or wakefulness.

It also ensures our plasma melatonin, the sleep hormone, is working correctly.

Melatonin is a hormone in your body that plays a role in sleep. The production and release of melatonin in the brain is connected to a time of day, increasing when it is dark and decreasing when there is light. Although its production declines with age.

In support of this, a study from the University of Toronto demonstrated the significance of light strength, showing that bright lights "intensify our initial emotional reaction to a stimulus" and that "its effects can be both positive and negative."

Image: ellenshop

Experts agree that taking advantage of sunlight during the day by going for walks or sun bathing and avoiding direct exposure to cold or blue light at bedtime can improve the quality of sleep and positively affect people's well-being and productivity.

Blue light is often light emitted from our computers or mobile phones.

In a study conducted in Switzerland, researchers compared the use of low-intensity artificial light, defined as half an hour of artificial light at 2,800 lux, with one hour of outdoor light.12 The study concluded that outdoor light was more effective than artificial light, with outdoor light causing a 50% reduction in depressive symptoms.

lighting in our houses can affect our mood
lighting in our houses can affect our mood

It remains somewhat impossible to control the lighting of all the environments and spaces where we live in.

This is because most of us live in rentals and apartments, on the other hand, being aware of the impacts of lighting on our bodies can make us think twice about some of the choices we would otherwise make in a heartbeat.

It will help us wake up in the morning, draw the curtains, go for that 20-minute walk, or even make a decision to change the lighting in our houses or just check our phones one last time before bed.