If you’ve been feeling a little off since the end of daylight savings time last week, you’re not alone and it’s not you. Our bodies and biology are connected to and interact with sunlight. Exposure to sunlight affects the production of serotonin in our brains (one of our happy chemicals) and triggers the release of melatonin (a hormone that regulates sleep-wake cycles).
In light of these facts (see what I did there…:), here are some ideas to let more light into our bodies and homes.
Schedule more outside time. Combat the sluggishness of darker days and cultivate positive energy by getting outside while it is light. Even though the sun now goes down earlier, it will come up sooner too. Exposure to morning light can boost alertness, energy levels, mood and productivity.
Consider a light box. These types of lights mimic outdoor sunlight and can assist your body and brain to adjust to fewer hours of sunlight (to some degree) by having a similar effect on serotonin and melatonin as the real thing. Use a light box first thing in the morning to train the body to a sleep schedule and for a short time in the afternoon to signal to the brain that it is still time to be awake and alert.
Bring more light inside, literally. A small change that yields a big impact is to replace incandescent bulbs with LEDs which produce a brighter, whiter light. Consider lightening your decor by painting walls, using slipcovers, and putting down rugs in pale colors. Remove screens from your windows to let 30% more light into your home. Trim branches outside windows that block natural light. Increase a sense of warmth in rooms by bringing outdoor string lights inside. Introduce mirrors into a room to reflect all available light and amplify its effect. And perhaps the most obvious…clean the windows. 🙂
Add plants. Plants bring life to a room. They provide oxygen, cleanse the air, and display the green missing from winter trees. Be sure to match plants to the amount of light you have. Tropical plants do well in indirect light. Snake plants, Chinese evergreens and Pothos are hardy and low maintenance.