Thanks to health propaganda, we are now aware of the damage that natural sunlight can do to human skin, including age spots, moles, wrinkling, sagging, and of course, cancer. People are more afraid of the sun than ever before: We slather on sunscreen before we go outside. We make our children wear long-sleeved swim shirts. The average American spends 87% of their life indoors! While it is true that high levels of exposure to the UV radiation in sunlight has been scientifically proven to accelerate cancer rates, sunlight is not evil. In fact, moderate exposure to sunlight can improve your health.
Mental health benefits of sunlight
Humans seem designed to be dependent on the natural cycle of light and darkness that takes place every day. Bright white sunlight perceived triggers serotonin, while dim lighting and darkness trigger melatonin. Serotonin is a hormone that improves mood and helps you feel calm and focused. Melatonin is a hormone that helps you feel sleepy when it’s time for bed. Keeping these two hormones in balance is critical to mental health.
Without enough exposure to sunlight, serotonin production is reduced. During fall and winter, at least 20% of Americans experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression associated with reduced sunlight during those two seasons. One of the treatments for SAD is bright light therapy, using artificial sunlight to reboot serotonin production.
Evidence suggestions that regular exposure to sunlight (or at least bright white light) can also ease symptoms of nonseasonal depression, PMS, and pregnancy-related and postpartum depression. It may also be beneficial for those who suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.
Physical health benefits of sunlight
The benefits of regular exposure to bright white sunlight don’t just stop in the brain. They extend throughout the human body:
- Near-infrared light stimulates the mitochondria in your cells to produce more energy.
- Sunlight regulates circadian rhythm, telling you when to wake up and when to go to sleep. In other words, people exposed to more sunlight sleep better.
- UVA radiation (which can penetrate glass, unlike UVB) generates nitric oxide in your skin, stimulating up to 60% improvement in blood flow.
- Nitric oxide from UVA radiation also boosts immunity, lowers blood pressure, stimulates the brain, reduces inflammation, and helps prevent cancer.
What does this have to do with skylights?
Easy! Skylights like Alternative Energy, LLC Tubular Skylights bring lots of natural sunlight into your home, and all of the health benefits that come along with it. You may be spending most of your life indoors, but that doesn’t mean you never get to see the light of day. You may find that you have more energy to get things done, and you’ll love the lower electricity bill from not needing artificial lighting during the day.