The Winter Solstice, this shortest day of the year, is a perfect time to reflect about how much natural outdoor light you get every day in the winter. The sun provides the most powerful and vital energy to us, energy that affects our bodies in myriad ways, including to make us sleep well, and feel sunny and energized.
“Malillumination,” or inadequate sunlight intake, is at an epidemic in our indoor industrial culture, according to John Ott, a photobiologist who believes that natural light is similar to a nutritional need of the body, and essential for good health. Others call the light from the sun a “super nutrient,” and it is essential for the health of the entire endocrine system. When childrenís classrooms are ďdaylighted,” for example, and they have adequate exposure to the natural rays of the sun, they learn more effectively, are absent from school less, and are more calm in their behavior.
There are two essential aspects of light that we need every day for good health. Many of us try to shield ourselves from these, so it is vital to your health to learn about them here to make sure you get them every day!
Full Spectrum Light
One is the full-spectrum of the sunís light rays in its natural color balance. Most windows block this complete full-spectrum, as do most glasses. Unless you choose a full-spectrum light inside, or spend time outside with glasses with plastic lenses that donít block the full spectrum, you will be hard-pressed to receive enough full-spectrum light in your eyes to activate bodily systems.
The other essential aspect of light is brightness. If the light you receive each day–artificial or natural– isnít bright enough, your bodyís hormones wonít kick into gear to activate your Circadian Rhythm. While a typical office light will give enough light to see what one is doing, it is inadequate for activating the Circadian Rhythm.