We are approaching the longest day of the year and we will also be almost half way through 2018. The upcoming Summer Solstice means that we will be fortunate enough to enjoy 17 hours of daylight, out of 24 hours, on 21st June.
In the UK we have already been experiencing a large amount of sunshine this Spring. Most of us will have appreciated the knock-on effect that this exposure to sunlight has had on our minds, bodies and general wellbeing. Making us feel more positive and less stressed as a result.
Natural light reduces stress levels
Research has shown that the more sunshine we experience, the higher our serotonin levels will be. Serotonin affects our appetite, sleep, memory and moods, higher levels have a positive effect on our health and wellbeing. As a result, we will tend to eat and sleep better. This in turn ensures we feel more energetic, our memory recall is better and we feel more alert and positive. The positive effect on our wellbeing is especially good news within the workplace. As it means that we are more aware, happier and productive when the days are longer. Whether we work in an office, factory or other environment. Sitting or standing near the window and taking breaks outside can reap rewards. Exposure to natural daylight rather than artificial lighting, leads to our pineal glands releasing melatonin. This makes us more alert into the evening, so the afternoon slump might not happen. When we are exposed to artificial or poor light, it has been found that our cortisol levels can drop significantly, leaving us stressed and less able to stabilise our energy levels.
It’s not all about work
It’s not just our working lives that can benefit from the extra daylight available at this time of year. The energy boost that we receive from the longer, sunnier days transfers into our personal lives too. When the evenings are light and long, we no longer want to slump in front of the television and be sedentary. The lighter evenings offer the opportunity to get outside in the garden, or for us to go for a walk or jump on our bikes. Our work/life balance, which is important to our stress levels and mental and physical health, becomes more balanced rather than work seeming to play a larger part in the week.
Therefore, the case for making the most of the extra daylight and sunshine we are experiencing in the Northern hemisphere is clear. If you want to boost your mood, health, wellbeing and be more productive. Take steps to increase your exposure to daylight. Get up earlier, walking to work if possible, taking breaks outside, sit by a window and making the most of the evening daylight. Spring and Summer offer us a free and effective way to increase our productivity, it’s up to us to make the most of it.
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Till next time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor