Most of us spend our work and play time indoors, especially with the cold weather upon us, so it is important to understand the effects that artificial light has on us, as well as the effects of not being exposed to a healthy amount of natural sunlight. With the sun rising later and setting earlier and the fact that we spend so much of our days inside a home or office, our bodies become out of tune with the natural cycle of the sun. Many people are affected by the lack of sunlight that accompanies the winter season change experience a condition called SAD (Seasonal Effective Disorder). Symptoms may include depression, fatigue, irritability difficulty concentrating, and headaches. However, there are ways to help reduce and eliminate the effects of SAD.
Full spectrum light bulbs are the closest thing to natural sunlight. They are slightly more expensive than commonly used bulbs, but are a good source of light for sufferers of SAD. They are most often found at health food stores, hardware stores, and of course, over the Internet. I highly recommend the use of full spectrum lighting because it has been proven to have an enormous healing affect on people who are sensitive to time and weather changes.
Another remedy for those of you who feel bewildered by the loss of light over the winter, are light boxes. They give off the closest and most concentrated amount of sunlight and are used for about fifteen minutes each day to help reduce the effects of SAD. They can be costly but if you are suffering greatly this is the best remedy. I know quite a lot of people that claim it was one of the best investments they’ve made.
Whatever the season, medical professionals recommend that everyone spend at least 15 minutes outside in the daytime to help absorb the nutrients and vitamins the sun offers. The sun, our largest source of energy has amazing health benefits and so it important that as days grow shorter and darker, we do all that we can to ensure maximal exposure every day.
Lighting often goes unaddressed in Feng shui or an interior design consultation and I find this odd considering how affected by its presence and absence we all are. Here are some basic things to remember when utilizing light sources for your home or office:
- If there is a noticeable dark corner in a room in your home, this would be an ideal place for a floor or wall mounted light source
- Don’t forget about candles! How much better is it to bathe surrounded by candlelight than an overhead non-dimmable light source
- Kitchens should be especially well-lit, as should offices (we call this task lighting)
- Bedroom lighting and living rooms should have diffusible lighting
- If your apartment is particularly dark because it does not receive natural sunlight during the day, install overhead lighting to help spread the light more effectively and to enhance the sense of spaciousness in a room
- Be aware of light source problems, such as light glaring on TV’s or computer screens, not enough lighting for reading, light flickering, or lighting that is too harsh or overbearing
- Consider a candle chandelier in your dining room to create a softer ambiance
- Each room in a home serves a different purpose, so keep this in mind when evaluating each room
Understanding your needs and preferences for lighting are essential to creating the ideal atmosphere in your home or office. Take time to assess which areas of your home need to be addressed and remember to be creative with your use of it!