Natural light can improve your sleep and ward off seasonal depression. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects approximately 1-2% of the population, while milder forms of winter depression affect 10-20%. For those dealing with the winter blues, natural light is a necessity.
The facts in this blog are purely informational and are not a diagnosis. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, reach out to your mental health provider, or use the resources provided at the end of this page for assistance.
What is SAD?
Seasonal affective disorder is a seasonal depression that typically occurs in the winter. Individuals affected by SAD may have increased levels of melatonin or decreased levels of serotonin, both of which help regulate our natural circadian rhythms. Learn more about SAD at the National Institute of Mental Health’s website.
How to Improve the Light in Your Home
One of the causes of SAD is the decrease in exposure to sunlight. Follow these tips to increase the amount of natural light in your home during winter:
- Choose light-colored paints: Bright, light colors on your walls reflect light better than darker colors.
- Go natural: Natural wood cabinets and furniture can also make your space feel more bright and open than darker options.
- Invest in mirrors: Mirrors are a great way to reflect the natural light from windows in your home. Hang multiple mirrors to increase the light in your home.
- Amp up the light: Increasing your light bulbs to a higher wattage can help even the most dreary nights feel brighter. Make sure you talk with an electrician before choosing a higher wattage bulb—selecting the wrong bulb could result in an electrical fire.
If you or someone you love is thinking of hurting themselves, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for immediate support. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the toll-free TTY number at 1-800-799-4TTY (4889). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741).