Between work, school, home and the unpredictable Canadian climate, we spend a lot of time indoors. Just how much? Current research shows we’re spending more time than ever before inside – 90% of our lives.
But whether it’s by choice or necessity, an indoor lifestyle can have unintended negative consequences on your health. Here are some you might not be aware of – and what you can do
- Allergies and irritation. Everyday home life activities – such as cooking, cleaning, showering, lighting candles, drying clothes and even sleeping and breathing – contribute to polluted indoor air, which over time can increase your risk of developing allergies. If you suffer from persistent symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, red eyes and headaches that seem to lessen when you’re not home, it might well be due to poor indoor climate.
- Respiratory illness. These same home activities can also lead to respiratory diseases like asthma and even chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It’s believed more children will suffer from asthma or allergies unless homes and public buildings are better ventilated, and the chances of being diagnosed with asthma increases by 40% for those who spend too much time in damp, mouldy buildings.
One solution for allergies and respiratory issues is a smart skylight, like VELUX Active with NETATMO indoor climate control. This allows your home to proactively monitor temperature, humidity and CO2 levels, and open or close your programmable skylights and blinds accordingly to create a healthier indoor climate.
- Lower productivity. Air pollution isn’t the only cause for concern when you spend most of your time indoors – a lack of natural daylight can also be damaging. Most of us have probably experienced the increased alertness that comes from working in a bright room as opposed to a dim, poorly lit space. Several scientific studies back this up, including ones with students who performed better on reading and math tests with improved daylight conditions. A skylight can help infuse areas of your home with natural light, providing two times more daylight than wall windows, allowing the light to stretch deep in your house. This is especially helpful if your home experiences shade from blinds on wall windows or shade from outdoor trees.
- Difficulty sleeping. Daylight is the principal cue used by the human circadian clock to regulate the sleep/wake cycle. So, if we don’t have enough of it during the day it can wreak havoc on our sleep. Typical light levels indoors tend to be around 300 lux (the level of light intensity as perceived by the human eye); sitting by a window you’re exposed to around 3,000 lux; while outside you will receive around 10,000 to 100,000 lux.
Simply making sure you have 30 minutes of exposure to daylight every day can help you sleep better and boost. So, instead of sitting at your desk try using your lunch break to go for a brisk walk.
- Mood effects. Natural sunlight causes the brain to produce serotonin, a hormone responsible for improving mood, alleviating pain and increasing energy levels. If you spend most of your time indoors without enough sunlight, you can experience negative effects on your mood, especially during the winter.
Increased exposure to natural light reduces the risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.).
To counteract the negative effects of a lack of daylight, invite nature into your home with a venting skylight, which can open up for fresh air, reduce toxins and create a healthier living environment for you and your family.
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