The Health Benefits of Daylighting
Plants aren’t the only living organisms that metabolize sunlight, we human beings do too. While the relationship daylight exposure and our health isn’t simple, it is important to know. Most people are aware of the risk of skin cancer from long exposure without protection, a number of studies and scientists suggest that moderate exposure leads to a surprising number of health benefits.
Daylight helps lower blood pressure.
A group of researchers from the University of Edinburgh found that as soon as daylight hits the skin, a compound is released that helps lower blood pressure.
Daylight improves bone health.
The most well-known health benefit of daylight is the creation of Vitamin D when daylight hits the skin. The creation of Vitamin D also creates Vitamin D3, which has been shown to reduce risks of bone fractures.
Daylight improves brain functions.
A study by the University of Cambridge found that higher levels of vitamin D were correlated with higher levels of cognitive function. The inverse was also true, where lower the levels of Vitamin D among those with lower cognitive function. Even more studies have shown that daylight could help with grown of nerve cells in the hippocampus, which is responsible for creating and storing memories.
Daylight eases mild depression.
A lack of daylight can cause a condition called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. SAD is a common mild form of depression in the winter months or for workers who have long hours in artificially lit buildings. Moderate daylight increases the levels of natural antidepressants in the brain, like serotonin.
Daylight improves sleep quality.
When daylight hits our eyes, the brain sends a message to the pineal gland to stop production of melatonin, the hormone mainly responsible for making us drowsy. When it starts to get dark, the message stops and melatonin is produced again. Over production of melatonin during the day leads to low levels at night, making it harder to fall asleep.
Daylight improves growth in children.
Studies have revealed that amount of daylight a child gets, especially in the first few months of it life, has an effect on how tall the child grows.
Daylight improves the immune system.
Daylight helps suppress an overactive immune system, which is why daylight is used to treat autoimmune diseases like psoriasis. Daylight also causes an increase in white blood cells, which play a key role in fighting diseases and infections.
Daylight reduces risk of some cancers.
Scientists from the University of California noticed that higher levels of Vitamin D drop your risk of many cancers, especially colon cancer and breast cancer. Other studies show that Vitamin D supplementation produce a dramatic 60% drop in risk of developing any form of cancer.
Blue spectrum of light.
The biggest reasons for these health benefits is the full spectrum of color that daylight provides. Most artificial light is on the yellow spectrum only, whereas natural daylight carries the full spectrum, especially blue.
It is important that daylighting systems must not filter out the blue spectrum of light. These benefits cannot be achieved without the blue spectrum of light. When a daylighting system has yellowed it is actually a failed system because it is filtering out the blue spectrum of light.