There are times when we all feel like shutting ourselves off from the real world. A bad day at work, challenging times at home, or simply those days when, for no specific reason, you want to hide yourself away.
But what has become apparent in the wake of the pandemic is the sheer number of people who have found themselves battling depression. According to the NHS, at least 20% of adults reported experiencing depression last year—more than double the normal figure.
When a person’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, the instinctive reaction is often to seek seclusion. However, studies have shown that when a person feels depressed, anxious, upset, or down, often the best thing they can do is throw their blinds, shutters, or curtains open to the world.
The benefits of natural light
On the surface, there is something uniquely comforting and reassuring about a dark and private space where you can be alone with your thoughts. In reality, studies have shown that it is far healthier and more productive to expose yourself to as much natural light as possible.
An abundance of natural light has been shown to trigger a major reduction in the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Exposure to light is essential to many crucial processes in the body and brain. Examples of this include regulating hormones and neurotransmitters, which are responsible for making us feel the way we do.
When exposed to plenty of natural light, hormone production and regulation are stabilised. In addition, the body’s natural internal clock works almost entirely on the basis of exposure to light or darkness. When it is bright during the daytime, the body and brain know it is time to be awake. When it is dark, their processes begin focusing more on sleep.
It is therefore practically impossible to be at your best without ensuring you are exposed to a good amount of natural light throughout the day. Hence, experts recommend throwing open those blinds, shutters, or curtains as soon as you get up in the morning in order to support your body and brain’s natural processes.
In addition, those who spend a lot of time indoors are advised, where possible, to stay close to windows. Even taking a look outside from time to time during the day can be better than spending hours on end cooped up indoors.
Aiding restful sleep
Plenty of natural light during the daytime can be inspiring and uplifting, but complete (or near-complete) darkness is best at night.
Creating a dark and comfortable environment is essential for assisting the brain in its natural transition to its ‘sleep’ state. We are simply not engineered to sleep well in bright environments, which is where the right window coverings can make all the difference.
Premium-quality window shutters can offer the best of both worlds: total absorption of natural light during the day, coupled with near-complete darkness at night. A simple and affordable addition to the home, which research nonetheless suggests could make a big difference to your psychological health and wellbeing.