“I’m a firm believer that lighting affects mood…” ~ Erin Morgenstern
There is no denying the positive impact sunlight has on our emotional well-being. Study after study proves that there is a direct correlation between depression and the lack of direct sunlight. However, too much light, be it natural or artificial, can be detrimental to one’s health. Irreparable retinal eye damage can occur after mere minutes of staring directly at the sun. Artificial light can also prove damaging. When exposed to artificial lighting that is too bright, we can experience headaches, fatigue, and even bouts of anger. Children and older adults are especially sensitive to these damaging effects.
There are some simple lifestyle changes you can adopt to limit your exposure to artificial light at home each evening. Swapping your high wattage light bulbs for ones with lower wattage, dimming lights in rooms that have pot lights on dimmers, and turning lights off in rooms that are not in use are all simple and effective ways of reducing exposure to artificial lights for hours at a stretch. Limiting smartphone, tablet, and computer use before bed will also go a long way to cutting down on the damaging effects caused by artificial light.
Natural light, much like artificial light, can also prove damaging to your health if the natural light is too bright. Whether it’s the hottest summer day or snowiest day in the dead of winter, if you’re outside and find yourself starting to feel angry, it might be because you forgot your sunglasses. Yes, squinting can make you angry. “On the sunniest days, we squint; and squinting can make us angry,” explains Daniele Marzoli, PhD, a psychologist at Italy’s University of Chieti-Pescara. The screwed-up expression we make when we squint is essentially a frown. Since mood and facial muscles are linked, the face signals to the brain that we’re irritated. The link between squinting and feeling irritated occurs almost instantly.
Luckily, there is a quick and easy fix to this mood changer: sunglasses. So, to avoid feeling angry or irritated the next time you head outside, remember to wear your shades.
Knowing just how damaging exposure to bright light can be to your overall health is a big step in the right direction–regardless of whether the light is natural or artificial. Being inspired to make some simple lifestyle changes will go along way towards living a healthier lifestyle on a daily basis.