Our ancestors didn’t have artificial lighting. The idea of discussing the benefits of natural light wouldn’t have occurred to anyone until the end of the 19th century. However, our reality means that as our way of life and work changes, we have become very dependent on artificial light – to the detriment of our physical and psychological health and productivity.
So why is daylight so important for our health?
Synchronizes our biological clock
In addition to helping us get a healthy dose of vitamin D, natural light synchronizes our circadian rhythm, the clock built into our bodies. Maintaining a normal circadian rhythm affects many processes in the body, including the nervous system and sleep quality.
Natural lighting is one aspect of interior design that helps prevent the negative effects of Sick Building Syndrome. Sick Building Syndrome occurs when employees experience headaches and breathing problems due to poor ventilation and working conditions. Although SBS primarily focuses on natural ventilation, research shows that natural lighting can help prevent Sick Building Syndrome in buildings.
Natural antibacterial properties
This aspect is particularly relevant to residential spaces. When a lot of sunlight enters the kitchen, it prevents the formation of mold and mildew. For the same reason, natural light is very appropriate in bathrooms and other damp areas, although this is rare in traditional multi-story buildings in Ukraine.
For example, a light-filled kitchen in an apartment in the “Novopecherski Lypky” residential complex in Kyiv, which we named “The Play of Light”.
Increases serotonin levels
Natural light improves mood and helps alleviate the so-called “winter blues.” According to many studies, the level of serotonin (known as the “happiness chemical”) is higher on sunny days than on cloudy ones. Serotonin not only stabilizes mood but also helps prevent depression.
Natural light can reveal the rich colors and textures of materials better than artificial light. Due to the diversity, yet subtlety, of the details we see, the brain works more intensely, which significantly improves the state of the nervous system and overall well-being. This is how we filled the interior with natural light that emphasizes its texture through a glass wall in the Fregat restaurant located on the banks of the Dnipro in Kyiv.
Benefits for office workers
The design of most modern workplaces is mostly oriented towards space efficiency with minimized costs for its organization. That is why in most such cases, there is not enough attention to human needs. However, natural light in offices plays an important role in maintaining employee health, reducing absenteeism, increasing work productivity, improving sleep quality and morale, and so on.
Here, for example, is how we made the design of the office for the “SOTI” company bright and more conducive to physical and mental health.