Sun, Yes!

Indoor sunlight has a profound effect on our well-being.

Posted Mar 27, 2012

It is officially Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. All of us living north of the Equator can expect to see more and more of the sun, as our day lit hours become longer and brighter. To maximize your psychological and physical well-being, make sure that you let as many of those sunbeams as possible flow into your house—keep the blinds and curtains open whenever possible and clean skylights. Don't take those window treatments down altogether; we also need to experience darkness at night to optimize nature's effects on us.

Rigorous research by environmental psychologists and others has linked higher levels of indoor sunlight to:

  • Keeping your circadian rhythms in sync with where you are, which reduces strexss and improves the functioning of your immune system.
  • Being more helpful to others and, in general, behaving more positively when around other people.
  • Enhancing well-being and mood.
  • Improving the quality of knowledge work that we're doing while in that daylight.

The people who wrote the classic song about "let[ting] the sun shine in" had an important insight into human psychological and physical health. We shouldn't forget their message.