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Light changes or perceptions. Image Via: Luis Jauregui

Natural light is an essential part of our lives. Image Via: Luis Jauregui

Ready or not, winter is coming. While most of us love the beauty of the first snow of the season or the tradition of spending holidays surrounded by family and friends, we don’t relish the idea of waking up in the dark and returning home in much the same state.

If you’ve ever wondered why you feel that way, we have the answer. Prolonged exposure to darkness actually has a psychological effect on all of us.

Fortunately, there is something you can do to bring summertime into your home all year round. Take a look at the benefits of mood enhancing lights below and decide for yourself. Why not incorporate one into the undoubtedly fabulous lighting scheme in your home? After all, who doesn’t want their interiors to do double duty?

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The amount of light during the day we see determines how we perceive the world. Image Via: James Patrick Walters

The amount of light during the day we see determines how we perceive the world. Image Via: James Patrick Walters

How Does Mood Enhancing Lighting Work?

We’ve talked before about the benefits of natural light. However, what can you do if you live in a climate where long walks in the sun aren’t always feasible? Mood enhancing lights may be able to bring all the goodness the bright sunlight indoors.

As simple as it sounds, mood enhancing lights work by imitating the sun’s bright rays. On beautiful summer days, the sun’s brightness can measure at nearly 100,000 lux. However, indoor lights – which most of us are subjected to during long winters – only clock in around at about 100 lux. While not quite able to replicate the real thing, these lights can provide you with an intense 10,000 lux boost.

Best of all, they are super simple to use. All you need to do is set up the light nearby where you’re seated – two feet is the recommended distance – and go about your business. Doctors suggest that you limit your time spent in the light though because overexposure can lead to mild side effects such as eye irritation.

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Whenever possible, sunlight works best. Image Via: Louise de Miranda

Whenever possible, sunlight works best. Image Via: Louise de Miranda

They Help Fight Depression

Have you ever noticed how everyone seems happier in the summer time? For whatever reason, everyone seems lighter and more carefree as the temperatures get warmer. It turns out that some of those relaxed attitudes could be attributed to the amount of sun exposure that we get and mood enhancing could help you cheat the calendar.

It’s all about melatonin, a brain chemical that is produced naturally when we’re exposed to darkness and is responsible for the regulation of circadian rhythms, or any physical and mental bodily changes that occur in roughly a 24-hour cycle.  . However, too much of it can be attributed to feelings of depression and melancholy. Light therapy works by tricking the brains pineal gland to reduce the production of melatonin.

How much light exposure is needed to counteract seasonal depression will depend on your individual case. It’s recommended that you go over your treatment plan with your doctor as factors such as biological sex, age, and preexisting conditions could factor into the severity of your seasonal depression.

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Focused light exposure may help fight the winter blues. Image Via: Amy Weiss, Interior Designer

Focused light exposure may help fight the winter blues. Image Via: Amy Weiss, Interior Designer

They Can Cut Down Cravings

Interestingly, the amount of natural light we receive could also have an effect on how we eat. Think about it: How do we start to eat as the weather gets cooler? Refreshing produce starts to give way to heavier comfort food dishes and warm stick-to-your-ribs meals to get us through the day.

This shift in eating habits is, again, thanks to the influx of melatonin. Some of the symptoms of an overproduction of melatonin include: craving carbohydrates and sugars, a tendency to overeat and a reluctance to exercise. All of which can add up to some unexpected weight gain.

However, by slowing the production of melatonin and allowing regular serotonin levels to return, you should feel those intense cravings start to subside. Not only that, but you’ll start to feel increased energy levels, which will make it easier to actually stick to your gym routine.

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Light even effects how much we eat. Image Via: Borghese Luce Arte

Light even effects how much we eat. Image Via: Borghese Luce Arte

You’ll Get A Better Night’s Rest

We’ve all had those days: You wake up when it’s dark only to feel like you haven’t slept at all. Then, you spend the whole day working in an office space and, by the time you’re ready to go home, it’s dark again. On those days, it can feel impossible to shake the sleep from your eyes and go about your day.

Can you guess the culprit? Again, it’s melatonin. That same little chemical is also responsible for regulating our sleep cycles and circadian rhythms.

By spending essentially your entire day either under harsh florescent lighting or in darkness, your bodily clocks never have chance to reset for the new day. Instead, the melatonin that floods your brain insists that it is always nearly time to settle down for a long nights rest. Using the light in the morning can help your reset your internal clocks and get ready for the busy day ahead.

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Not being exposed to enough light during the day can throw off your sleep cycle. Image Via: Domæn Ltd.

Not being exposed to enough light during the day can throw off your sleep cycle. Image Via: Domæn Ltd.

Interior design is about so much more than aesthetics. At the end of the day, the objects that you choose to fill the rooms of your home with have a profound psychological impact. While there’s not much you can do about the amount of sunlight you receive during the winter months, you can use lighting to help stave off the harsher effects of too little sunlight. Mood enhancing lights can help you bring a little summer home all year round. Give them a try. You may just find yourself happier this winter.

Do you use mood enhancing lights? If so, do you believe in their effects? If you haven’t used them yet, have you been convinced? Tell us in the comments.