How maximising natural light in your home can aid sleep

Desperate for a better night’s sleep? Find out how maximising natural light in your home can actually help you sleep.

There’s not much worse than being unable to get to sleep at night, especially when you’ve got a busy week ahead. But did you know that simply welcoming more natural light into your home during the day can help you beat restlessness?

In this article, Sarah Hastings from RW4Y explains how maximising natural light can aid sleep and provides some tips for doing so.

Insomnia has become more common over the past year

Struggling to sleep? You’re not alone. In fact, insomnia seems to be becoming more common for many of us since the pandemic began, with experts calling this phenomenon “coronasomnia”.

Whether your mind is buzzing with work stressors, financial problems, or anxieties around the health of yourself and your loved ones, these can all have a profound impact on your sleep. 

And while creating the right sleep environment and practising good sleep hygiene can help you settle down when you’re tucked up into bed, did you know making the most of natural light during the day can help you sleep much better? Here, I’ll be discussing why this is, and sharing some tips for welcoming sunlight into your home.

Why is natural light so important to our sleep cycle?

Our internal body clock – known as our circadian rhythm — is controlled by natural light and signals to us when we should be awake, and when we should be starting to wind down and get some rest.

When we fail to get enough exposure to light, our bodies receive much less melatonin -— an essential sleep hormone – meaning our sleep/wake cycle can’t function as normal and therefore we don’t get as tired during the hours designated for rest.

If someone recurrently doesn’t get enough exposure to natural light, it can impact their sleep cycle massively, and potentially leave them with long-lasting sleep problems and disorders, like insomnia. So while it’s important to get out and breathe in the fresh air every day, it’s also crucial that when you’re in the house, there’s enough natural light flowing to regulate your circadian rhythm.

As well as having a positive impact on your body clock, exposing yourself to enough natural light is key for improved mental health, especially for those who suffer from seasonal disorders like S.A.D.

Four ways to maximise natural light in your home

Whether you’ve got access to plenty of windows, or you think your home needs an update to maximise natural light in your home, you’re sure to see the benefits on your health, sleep cycle, and mood when you make the most of light. Here are four ways you can do so.

1) Revamp your colour scheme

If you’ve currently got quite a dark colour scheme and are looking to revamp, light colours like white and other neutrals are worth considering. This is because when the sun does shine through your home, the light will reflect off lighter colours better as opposed to darker tones that absorb the light. 

This doesn’t mean getting rid of all the interior aspects of your home you love if they’re dark but adding some lighter colours throughout will make a big difference. So, instead of having four dark walls, why not consider having white walls and one accent wall in a colour of your choice? This’ll really open up the space and welcome light in well. 

2) Take down heavy curtains

If you’ve got heavy curtains framing your window, you’re likely denying a good proportion of natural light entry to your home. I would recommend taking these down and replacing them with a much lighter alternative, like linen or voile, that will be effective in stopping sun rays from bouncing off your screens while still allowing a great amount of light in.

However, make sure you’ve got a great set of blackout blinds or curtains in your bedroom to stop any artificial light from street lamps from streaming in and keeping you awake at night time. 

3) Add mirrors around your home

You can encourage the reflection of light around your home with the presence of mirrors. These will be great for positioning in the frequently used areas of your home like your office, living room, and kitchen to ensure your family are exposed to enough natural light during the day. 

The same effect can be achieved with mirrored furniture like cabinets and console tables, as well as polished metallic elements which will reflect light in the same way as mirrors. 

4) Consider adding new windows

If you’re willing and able to make a bigger revamp to your home in the name of welcoming in natural light, windows are ideal for this. As well as boosting your mood and giving you a great view of nature and wildlife outside your home, these can add some great value to your home, especially if you opt for double glazed. 

Adding new windows is a great option if you’ve recently renovated your loft into an office space or recreational area for you and your family to enjoy your favourite hobbies. As most roofs aren’t made with windows in them already, you could consider having one inserted to open up the space and make it feel productive. 

Just make sure you seek planning permission from your local authority before going ahead with any changes to the exterior of your home. It’s more than likely on approval they will provide conditions you’ll need to meet, including the new windows matching the current ones you have. 

Let more light in – and get a better night’s sleep

Let restless nights be a thing of the past by following the advice and tips in this article. By maximising the amount of natural light in your home, you can keep your sleep/wake cycle in check and are sure to see many other mental health benefits which have a knock-on effect on your sleep, too. 

Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle