Letting the Sun Shine In

Take steps now to keep lots of natural light flowing into your home all winter.

Posted Sep 13, 2018

In the Northern Hemisphere, winter will set in soon (sorry to bring this up, but the realists among you know a season change is inevitable)—and that means there will be fewer hours of natural light every day north of the Equator.  

If you live in the northern half of the world, take steps now to make sure that even as the seasons change natural light fills your home—natural light is good for our minds and our bodies.  

As the hours of natural light outside your house grow fewer every day, make it easier for sunlight to find its way into your home. That may mean modifying window treatments so they don’t block the flow of natural light, moving furniture so that it doesn’t obstruct the movement of sunlight, cleaning skylights, or something else in your home. To maximize your psychological and physical well-being, make sure that you let as many of those sunbeams as possible flow into your home. Don't take 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:

  • Improving the quality of knowledge work-type thinking that we do while in that daylight.
  • Keeping our circadian rhythms in sync with where we are, which reduces stress and improves the functioning of our immune systems.
  • Being more helpful to others and, in general, behaving more positively when around other people.
  • Enhancing well-being and mood.

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