Natural light: A free resource to boost your energy
Natural light is a beautiful thing. Even in the depths of winter on our coldest and rainiest days, it's still here for us; ready to make us feel more alert, clear-headed, happier and focused.
By Becky Stanton
It’s that dreaded time of year again – we lose one precious hour of sleep! The clocks went back on 27 October, and we now have colder and darker days.
For many of us, natural light seems like a long-forgotten memory. Mornings are bleaker, daylight is shorter and it can often feel like we live in darkness during the winter months. You commute to work in the dark, or if you work from home, you are surrounded by artificial light and the temptation to stay in the warmth. Our bodies may feel more tired and it’s often reported that people have a lower mood.
But before you consider fully hibernating or flying south for the winter, I promise it’s not all doom and gloom here.
For many years, natural light has been integral to our lives and our bodies are biologically evolved to benefit greatly from exposure to daylight. But we have become overly reliant on artificial light to brighten our days, which adds no value to our health whatsoever. This is why our well-being and health become affected, most notably during these months.
How does it affect us?
Natural light is essential for our sleep patterns. Our circadian rhythm – our natural sleep and wake cycles – are dictated by all types of light, including electronic devices and artificial lighting. This daily cycle impacts our hormones, metabolism and our quality of sleep.
We all know that our sleep is imperative for greater mental capacity, memory, focus, efficiency and a better mood. All the things you rely on for a great day at work! But after a bad night’s sleep, we can all relate to the stress, agitation, foggy-headedness and drowsiness that persists all day.
The good news is that natural light is a free resource that you can utilise every day to feel more productive, alongside a few additional tricks to reset your internal clock. Also natural light has other key health benefits – including boosting vitamin D production for strong bone development and to lower depression!
What can you do to boost your energy naturally?
Pro-actively seek natural light. To boost your energy and productivity over the Autumn and Winter months, try to consciously action these tips as often as you can:
Get as much natural light when you wake up – eat breakfast by a window, take a morning walk, sit on a window seat on your way to work.
When working, sit as close to a window as possible.
If your office is dark, use mirrors to create more natural light in your space to avoid using artificial lighting (for instance choose a desk lamp instead of over-head lighting) and pull back your curtains or blinds as much as possible.
Schedule time to take regular breaks outside, or at least one 15 minute walk in daylight.
Focus on getting a better quality of sleep – avoid exposure to artificial lights and screens near your bedtime as this tricks your body and circadian rhythm that it’s still daytime.
Additionally, try a ‘SAD’ clock in your bedroom to support your circadian rhythms – it works to gradually light up your morning and turns lights low as you get ready for bed, re-enforcing your ideal cycle.
About Becky Stanton
Becky helps business owners create their ‘Work Sanctuary’ at home for greater effectiveness, purposeful working and intentional success. Becky specialises in re-aligning your personal energy with your home energy for a holistic business strategy.
She offers online and face-to-face programmes and workshops, alongside everyday support and guidance in her Facebook Group ‘Feng Shui Your Way To Success’ and on Instagram @beckystanton_homeorganiser. Becky also has a weekly blog and free resources on her website www.beckystanton.com.