Anyone who watches home improvement shows knows that natural light is a big selling point for home buyers. People want big windows with more natural light. Not only is it beautiful in a home, but it can also help you save on electricity costs if you're not using your lights as much.
One popular real estate blog, Off The Mrkt, even claims that properties with poor lighting sell for 20% less than properties with sufficient natural lighting through thoughtful window design. Even though it seems like a design preference, there are actually financial and even health benefits from having lots of natural light in the home.
Many people are aware of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is a mental disorder that happens most often in the winter. Essentially, the shorter days with less sunlight contribute to seasonal depression, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Along those same lines, people who spend a lot of their time inside or away from the glow of natural light tend to have more problems with lower serotonin levels. Harvard Health suggests that sunlight hitting your skin actually helps reverse SAD.
Not only does it help with your moods, but sunlight, specifically the vitamin D that comes from it, is a critical vitamin for overall health. Harvard Health says people with poor vitamin D levels actually have poor bone health. Some research even suggests there's a connection between low vitamin D levels with multiple sclerosis and prostate cancer.
So opening the curtains and spending time in the natural light — not the glow of a television or phone screen — can significantly improve your overall health.
Productivity and sleep benefits
If you're finding yourself lacking in the productivity department lately, pull the blinds open or work outside. The New York Times reports that natural sunlight can actually boost productivity. In one study, students had higher scores on standardized tests if their classroom was mostly lit with natural light. Those students did 26% better than their counterparts in artificially lit rooms.
On the flip side, getting enough natural light during the day can actually help at night. According to The National Sleep Foundation, getting direct sunlight early in the morning can help you get a better night's sleep. It helps set the rhythm for your body's circadian cycles for the day, so when it's dark outside you'll actually sleep.
Environmental and financial benefits
With the big social pushes to be more aware of the amount of energy each individual is using daily, it's easy to get overwhelmed with all of the things that experts recommend doing.
Along with purchasing energy-efficient home appliances, you can simply utilize natural light during the day to avoid added electricity usage. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that 6% of total home energy usage comes from lighting alone.
While that may not seem like it would make a significant impact, if more people committed to opening the blinds and turning off the lights, the combined efforts would make a big difference. So while windows might seem like a second thought in your home, choosing big windows that let in lots of natural light can actually help your energy conservation efforts.