When you’re feeling tired, sluggish or irritable, the last thing you need is several rainy days to add to your gloom. It can feel like a heavy weight until the sun finally peeks out from the clouds, brightening your mood on the spot.
In this way, the sun is acting like a teacher, too: Research linking the effect of sunlight on mood consistently shows that light energizes the brain, kick-starting the “feel good” chemicals known as beta-endorphin and serotonin. When you can't wait or don’t want to wait for the sun’s rays to reenergize you, take a lesson from the sun and make some subtle but important changes to brighten your home – and your mood – at the same time.
Try to mimic outdoor light
If you or someone in your home suffers from either a sleep disorder, seasonal affective disorder – known as SAD – or another form of depression, then you probably already know how exposure to artificial light can ease the symptoms. But not just any type of light will do. A bright light that “mimics natural, outdoor light” is best, the Mayo Clinic says.
This is good advice to keep in mind as you:
- Keep your window treatments open as much as possible. Even on cloudy days, natural light is still a more potent force than artificial light. You may notice the difference especially as you work, so try rearranging your home office furniture near a window.
- Turn down overhead lights. It's tempting to think that more light is better, but it depends on the source as well as its location. When the source cannot be the sun, turn down overhead lights, which diffuse light in all directions, and use task lighting instead. Lamps that train light directly on the object you're trying to see can help reduce eye strain and headaches – and improve your general mood.
- Install dimmer switches. Light therapy research also shows that bright, overhead light can intensify emotions – and deepen feelings of sadness – while lower light levels can keep emotions on a more even keel. Your emotions cannot be predicted or programmed, but if you're feeling out of sync, dimmer switches can help you adjust light levels to suit your mood.
- Reduce blue light. Computer screens, fluorescent bulbs and LED lights give off blue light, which can boost attention in the morning but disrupt sleep in the evening. And ongoing, erratic sleep patterns can cause a range of health problems, from chronic fatigue to depression. To counteract this effect, choose bulbs with an amber hue and unplug your computer, phone and tablet several hours before bedtime. You might also consider installing an app that blocks blue light.
On most days, Las Vegas's premier roofing company – First Quality Roofing & Insulation – works in close proximity to the sun. So from our vantage point, we have every confidence that while you may have to experiment with some of these enlightening ideas, you'll hit upon the right lighting strategy that works for you – and improves your well-being, too.