The office lights may be casting a dark shadow on your health and well being.
You’ve heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD—SAD relates to the need we all have for sunlight hormonal regularity and well being. But did you know that we are also affected by artificial light? It’s true. Artificial light has a measurable effect both physically and mentally. However, it’s not always a positive affect.
Most people don’t know the scientific testing done to prove the negative affect artificial light has on our health. In research reported on by the American Optometric Association, common cool-white fluorescents have a negative affect not only on our eyes—but also on our emotional, physical and mental well being. Research done by Dr. John Ott, the author of, Color and Light: Their Effects on Plants, Animals, and People, found that if light intake changes as little as 10%—moving from natural light to unnatural light—it can lead to a negative affect on individuals both physically and mentally.
The Case for Natural Light
Natural light is divided into a spectrum of colors which scientists say are essential to our health and well being. How well our eyes perceive, and our brain receives the colors plays a distinct role in how we feel. That’s because light enters our body through the optic nerves of the eyes and from there stimulates the pineal gland, the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland—thus, balancing our hormones and enhancing our mood and how well we feel.
Cool white and fluorescent lighting is lacking color from the spectrum, casting a greenish-yellowish hue that leads to fatigue in our eyes and our being. It is this unbalanced artificial light can lead to imbalances in us.
Use Natural Light to “tone up” your Mood
We humans need natural light. Natural light is the best source of light available and impossible to reproduce. Studies have shown that natural light or the lack of natural light can seriously affect our mood states.
You see, light affects our levels of serotonin and melatonin. When the neurotransmitter serotonin is in a healthy balance, we feel calm, alert and upbeat. Low light and low serotonin are linked to SAD, PMS, depression, irritability, weight gain, alcohol abuse and migraines. While the hormone melatonin, is produced in darkness and aids our biological clock, and helps us to sleep.
For most people, at least 20 minutes a day of sunlight is necessary for hormonal regularity. For people who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), that need may be as high as 2 hours a day.
The Bottom Line – For Optimal Health, Take it Outside!
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So, if you are feeling a little “out of sorts” don’t ignore these feelings, instead head outdoors, tune in, and listen carefully. It’s during these times that we should spend time outdoors and connect with what is natural to us – Mother Nature. She holds the cure for much of what ails us. That’s because we are innately connected to the language of the earth. No matter the season, she speaks to us in a different language, that of fresh air, wind, rain, snow, and sun.