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Let the Sun Shine In by Elizabeth Ross

Throughout history, humans have been striving to live in harmony with the environment around them and improve their well-being. Let’s explore how one of our greatest natural resources, the sun, impacts our wellbeing and can be incorporated into the inner atmosphere of our homes.

Since ancient civilization humans have responded environmentally, psychologically and physiologically to the atmosphere created by the sun’s energies. Many early cultures incorporated sunlight into architectural designs due to the need for light and a circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm of changing from light to dark was used to track the passing of time and to maintain internal metabolic processes. Sunlight was incorporated in Egyptian temples to define the sequence of spaces. In Greek monuments sunlight penetrated into the interior to reveal statues and reflect the connection between the heavens and earth. In Roman temples, the oculus skylight was seen as a window to the heavens.

As the human intellect progressed so did the utilization of sunlight. During the early 1900s in Europe, the medical field was successfully using sun therapy (heliotherapy) for treating diseases such as tuberculosis, rickets, smallpox and infectious wounds. Recent research has proven that sunlight increases the well-being and learning abilities of students, stabilizes autism, heightens employee productivity and lessens patients’ perception of pain and increases their recovery rate. Current health reports state that a lack of sunlight is detrimental to our health and may cause fatigue, insomnia, depression, and insufficient amounts of vitamin D. The benefits of vitamin D can include the prevention of cancers as well as many other diseases.

Incorporating Sunlight into Design

In today’s world we strive to utilize natural lighting when designing schools, medical and commercial buildings, and residences. The concepts undergo detailed examination to eliminate heat buildup and glare and to achieve an even illumination of light throughout the space. With all the benefits the sun provides, we should be taking a closer look at utilizing sunlight in our homes.

To take even one room in your home where people gather, children play or elderly rest and design that space to incorporate daylight into your environment will increase everyone’s well-being and balance with nature. Consider not only the movement of daylight throughout the room but the walls, floor and ceiling and the placement of furniture to create a warm and uplifting atmosphere.

Elizabeth Ross is a certified interior decorator based in Monroe. She has a passion for realizing the sun's benefits to our well-being and the ways in which it should be incorporated into design. She can be reached at 987-6909 or betsybd@optimum.net

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