Let the Natural Light In. It May Improve Your Health.
Natural light has an impact on the sleep patterns and overall health of people as they age. These needs are typically different than what children and younger adults need. Circadian Rhythms are the body’s natural clock, and many of them are influenced by the sun – even while you’re sleeping.
Studies have shown that increased exposure to high-intensity light is related to better sleep for older people. Natural light during the day can have a cumulative effect on the quality of sleep at night, and may even help to alleviate some of the worst sleep problems experienced by seniors.
With all of the health and wellness benefits connected with natural light, it’s clear that designing residential buildings for seniors should be done with careful attention to the amount of daylight residents can experience each day. Features like windows and skylights are especially important for people who cannot move too well on their own.
How this can help seniors:
Natural light reduces blood pressure.
Research has shown that sunlight alters levels of nitric oxide (NO) in the skin and blood, which reduces blood pressure. When exposed to sunlight, small amounts of NO are transferred from the skin to the circulation, lowering blood vessel tone; as blood pressure drops, so does the risk of heart attack and stroke.
It is a vital source of vitamin D.
Vitamin D influences the functioning of over 200 genes in our bodies. Sunlight doesn’t give us vitamin D directly, but it helps our body to produce its own. Vitamin D influences the bones, intestines, immune and cardiovascular systems, pancreas, muscles, brain, the control of cell cycles, and more.
Natural Lighting increases focus.
Natural light during both the morning and evening has been shown to increase concentration and focus. A naturally lit space will help you to be more productive than an artificially lit work environment. Increased natural light during the day helps you sleep better. That better sleep will have you well-rested for the next day.
Quick tips for ensuring a safer home for seniors:
Tip #1 – Lessen the potential of carbon monoxide poisoning. Never try to heat your home with your stove, oven, or grill since these can give off carbon monoxide–a deadly gas that you cannot see or smell.
Tip #2 – Safe proof your home. Tape all area rugs to the floor so they do not move when you walk on them.
Tip #3 – Reduce risk of falls. Store frequently-used items on lower shelves in the kitchen to limit the use of stools or step-ladders. If you must use a step stool, use one with a bar to hold onto.
Tip #4 – Get annual eye exams. Ensure your glasses or contacts prescription is up to date and that you do not have any conditions that limit your vision.
Check out the next WellNest article to learn how you can Maintain Your senior Loved One’s Quality of Life with Clean Laundry and Linen.