A Health Tip from Cate’s Chemist – Use Light to Improve your Mood.

Light impacts mental health by regulating our circadian rhythm, influencing mood, energy, productivity, and sleep quality. It also affects hormone production, including melatonin and serotonin, which play a role in emotional stability. Light exposure can impact mental health, with factors like type, intensity, duration, and timing playing a role. Here are some tips to use light to your advantage.

Natural light benefits our health by providing a full spectrum of wavelengths that are beneficial for our eyes, skin, and immune system. It also synchronizes our circadian rhythm, which improves our sleep quality and reduces the risk of depression. Insufficient natural light exposure, particularly during winter or in urban areas, can result in seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression. SAD can lead to symptoms like fatigue, low mood, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and loss of interest in activities.

To prevent or treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), it's advised to get at least 30 minutes of natural light exposure daily, preferably in the morning. Ways to do this include going outside for a walk, sitting near a window, or using a light therapy device. Increasing natural light indoors can also be done by opening curtains, using mirrors, or choosing light-coloured walls and furniture. Artificial light from lamps, bulbs, screens, and devices can extend activity beyond daylight hours but can also disrupt circadian rhythm and sleep quality when used excessively or at the wrong time.

Artificial light, particularly blue light, can harm sleep by suppressing melatonin production. While blue light can be useful during the day, it can disrupt the sleep cycle at night. To reduce the negative effects of blue light on sleep and mental health, limit exposure to artificial light at least two hours before bedtime. This can be achieved by using blue-light blocking glasses or filters, avoiding screens, or using red or amber lights instead of white or blue lights at night.

In conclusion, understanding how light affects us can positively impact our mental health. By getting enough natural light during the day, reducing artificial light at night, and adjusting lighting to our needs, we can improve our mood, energy, and sleep quality.