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How to Optimize Lighting for a Healthier Home

How to Optimize Lighting for a Healthier Home

We tend to view lighting choices as a matter of personal preference. But it turns out that the most important lighting decisions don't necessarily have to do with the choice of lamps. And lighting decisions can actually play a very important role in your family's health, happiness and well-being.

In fact, science has recently discovered that making the right lighting decisions in your home could even protect you and your loved ones from vision decline, depression, weight gain, cancer, and host of other problems.

Here are some brilliant ideas for optimizing the light in your home, not only for aesthetics but also to improve the overall quality of life for you and your loved ones.

1. Is sleeping in a dark room a good idea?

Numerous studies show that sleeping in a less dark or even more or less lit room can harm your health.

Last month, the American Medical Association issued an advisory stating that "exposure to excessive light at night, including prolonged use of various electronic media, may disrupt sleep or exacerbate sleep disorders, especially in children and adolescents. This is especially true for devices that emit "blue" light, such as television screens and touchscreen tablets.

So :

  • Researchers at The Ohio State University Medical Center have found that sleeping in a poorly lit room can lead to depression and weight gain.
  • Scientists from the University of Haifa in Israel have found a "clear and strong" correlation between women who live in areas that are not dark at night and an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have found that nighttime lighting in children's bedrooms may predispose them to myopia.

Television, video games, and reading e-books right before bed are bad. At night, the light coming from outside is bad. Gadgets that light up everything you own are bad. Also pay attention to night lights which maintain a fairly strong light in the room.

2. What to do with all this light?

Block outside light with good blinds. Don't read on a screen or watch TV right before going to bed. If you are going to use an e-book reader before bed, choose the type of reader that requires an outside light source. Unplug or cover with adhesive tape all these little lights on your electronic devices (TV, boxes, consoles, etc.)

If your children really need a night light, choose ones that turn off gradually, which allows children to fall asleep with a light, but later sleep in a very dark room.

The bottom line is that you and your family's health and happiness generally benefit from sleeping in total darkness, and it's important to do everything possible to darken bedrooms while sleeping.

3. Let there be light

In the previous section on sleeping in a dark room, we saw that your eyes expect to lack light at night, out of biological necessity. But the same goes for the day. Just as your eyes expect darkness at night, they expect sunlight during the day.

Researchers at the Australian National University explained the dramatically divergent rates of childhood myopia in relation to the amount of direct sunlight exposure children received. They found, for example, that almost 90% of children in Singapore are nearsighted and spend an average of 30 minutes a day outside. In Australia, on the other hand, the rate of children suffering from myopia is much lower, just 10%. On the other hand, they spend on average three hours a day outside.

Scientists believe that young children's developing eyes need the body to produce dopamine, which is triggered by direct sunlight in the eyes.

At the same time, there is an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency, in part because people aren't getting enough direct sunlight. Up to three-quarters of adolescents and adults in the United States may be deficient in this vitamin. This is a bad thing, because vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, Parkinson's and other diseases.

Part of our sun deficiency is linked to the fear of skin cancer. However, what people should fear is sunburn, regardless of the degree. According to the Vitamin D Council, your body gets all the exposure it needs for health long before skin starts to turn red. It is therefore healthier and less risky to expose yourself to the sun in small, frequent doses than to avoid the sun for part of the year and then get an occasional sunburn.

The fact is that most people living outside the tropics don't get enough exposure to the sun. And the best way to expose yourself to the sun is to go in small doses and on a regular basis (as long as the weather permits, of course).

Science tells us that decisions about the lighting in our homes can have important consequences for our happiness and well-being. Opting for a dark bedroom at night and letting in as much sunlight as possible during the day can be the best idea for your health and that of your family.

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