Exploring the Health Benefits of Natural Light

Exploring the Health Benefits of Natural Light

October 30, 2023
Martin Whitmore, President of US Window & Door

Health Benefits of Windows and Natural Light  

With more people working remote or office jobs, receiving enough natural light is becoming increasingly difficult. The average American usually spends about 90% of their time indoors. Thus, most people use artificial light instead, believing it provides enough lighting for their home.

The problem is that they're missing out on all the health benefits of natural light that can help boost productivity, improve sleep, and enhance your mood. If you spend most of your time indoors, you'll want strategically placed windows to receive natural lighting. Even better if you can find high-quality solutions like Milgard windows to maximize the amount of natural light and energy efficiency in your home.

In this guide, we'll discuss all the various natural light health benefits and how to maximize the natural light in your home.  

Benefits of Natural Light in Interior Spaces  

So why do we need natural light in our homes? There are a variety of reasons we crave natural light in our daily lives. Brightening our home with sunlight has many health benefits, from our mental and physical well-being to how our bodies work. Let's discuss further about these benefits:

Fights Depression   

Have you ever experienced that sluggish, low-energy feeling during the winter months? You might be familiar with Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's a condition that hits many of us when winter sets in, and a lack of exposure to natural light largely influences how well we feel.

Natural light significantly impacts our mood because it affects serotonin, a chemical in our brain that affects how we feel. Even on chilly winter days, some natural light can help chase away those gloomy, depressive feelings.

So, having windows in every room of your home can significantly boost your mood. Exposure to sunlight triggers the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of happiness and reduces stress.

enjoying sunlight by the window

Boosted Productivity  

Whether working from home or tackling household chores, ample natural light can enhance your productivity. Well-lit spaces can make it easier to focus and complete tasks efficiently. 

If you're feeling sluggish while working from home but need to stay productive, try relocating your workspace to an area with a spacious window. Why? Sunlight exposure generally reduces melatonin production in your brain, which is the hormone responsible for making you sleepy. When your melatonin levels are lower, you'll find it easier to stay alert and focused.

So, getting a dose of sunlight can be just the ticket to boost your alertness and maintain your concentration.

If you're considering remodeling your home or replacing your windows, consider the natural light situation in your home office. Having larger windows or more of them can make a world of difference in helping you power through your workday with renewed energy and vitality. 

Better Sleep  

A study tracking more than 100 employees and workers examined the amount of natural light exposure they received throughout the day. The results were eye-opening regarding the impact of this exposure on their well-being.

The employees who soaked the morning sunlight from dawn to noon reported significantly better sleep. They fell asleep quicker than those with less exposure to natural light and enjoyed uninterrupted sleep without waking up as much.

So, how does natural light help improve sleep? Your body's internal clock, the circadian rhythm, relies on natural light to regulate sleep patterns. Our brains produce certain chemicals at night to help us sleep after a busy day of work, chores, and daily routines.  

Our biology is finely tuned to know when it's time to rest and when it's time to be alert, all thanks to our 24-hour circadian cycle, which is greatly influenced by our exposure to natural light. Maximizing your exposure to natural light during the day allows you to enjoy better sleep quality at night.

Enhance Overall Health   

Vitamin D plays a crucial role in maintaining our overall health. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) explains that our bodies absorb this essential vitamin through our skin (and it can also be found in foods like egg yolks and fish). It then transforms into vitamin D3 and undergoes further processing in the liver and kidneys. This vitamin helps keep our nerves, muscles, and immune system in tip-top shape.

Now, picture a scenario where your home lacks enough windows to provide the vital vitamin D your body craves. This shortage of vitamin D can lead to serious bone conditions, such as osteoporosis in adults and rickets in children.

But here's the good news - you can easily add a few more windows in each room, ensuring you and your family receive ample natural sunlight throughout the day. Windows are your direct connection to getting enough vitamin D. They offer sufficient exposure so that even on days when you can't step outside, your body still gets its daily dose of sunshine. 

Maximizing Natural Light With Window Placement and Design  

If you're fortunate enough to have windows in your living or working spaces, you can maximize their benefits through strategic placement and design. Here are examples of ways you can implement into your home to maximize the natural light health benefits:

Optimize Window Placement  

window light in modern home

Getting the most out of natural light in your home is all about where you put your windows. Here are some simple tips to help you make the most of it:

  1. South-Facing Windows: If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, pay attention to the south side of your home. The earth's tilt will place the sun at the home's southern end most of the day. It's a good idea to put larger windows on this side because that's where you'll get the most sunlight.
  1. Watch the Sun's Path: Take a moment to observe how the sun moves during the day and across the seasons. This movement will give you valuable insights into where to place your windows. You can position them strategically to capture the maximum light at different times.
  1. Use Reflective Surfaces: Consider adding mirrors or other shiny surfaces in your home, especially across from windows. These surfaces can bounce and spread light deeper into your living spaces, making your home even brighter.

Choose the Right Glass   

The kind of glass you pick for your windows can make a big difference in how much natural light streams in and how it spreads around. Here are some glass options to think about:


  1. Low-E Glass: This glass has a special coating and usually multiple panes filled with a specific gas that shields against heat and UV rays. It's super handy because it makes your home comfortable without blocking the sunlight you love.
  1. Frosted or Textured Glass: Sometimes, you want the light, but you also want your privacy. That's where frosted or textured glass comes in. These types of glass let light sneak through, but they do it in a way that keeps your space private.


So, when choosing the glass for your windows, think about what matters most to you – whether it's keeping things cool, having privacy, or just letting the sunlight do its thing. There's a glass option for every preference, which can help you perfect the natural light in your home. 

Choose the Perfect Window Styles   

When it comes to brightening your home with natural light, your choice of window styles matters greatly. Here are a few styles that do an excellent job of maximizing natural light:

  1. Picture Windows: Picture windows are like giant, fixed frames for your view. They don't open or close, providing a clear, unobstructed view of the outside world. Plus, they let in a ton of sunlight. Picture windows are perfect for areas where you want to flood the room with natural light and enjoy breathtaking views.
  1. Casement Windows: Casement windows are like your home's natural light ventilators. They open outward, allowing fresh air to flow while bringing in plenty of sunshine. They're convenient in kitchens and bathrooms, where good ventilation and natural light are essential.
  1. Sliding Windows: Sliding windows come with wide glass panes and a sleek frame, making them ideal for spaces where you want to let in as much light as possible. With sliding windows, you get both a bright interior and a modern look.

So, these window styles are your go-to options if you want to infuse your home with more natural light.

Light-Colored Interiors  

Light-colored walls, ceilings, and furniture can reflect natural light, making your space feel even more open and airy.

For example, light-colored walls, such as soft pastels, gentle creams, or pale shades of blue or green, can reflect natural light. When sunlight enters your room, these light hues bounce the light around, creating a welcoming and open ambiance.

Light-colored ceilings work in harmony with your walls. They create a seamless transition for natural light as it moves through your room. The effect is a sense of height and openness, making your space appear larger and more inviting.

bright bedroom with style line windows

Window Treatments for Balancing Light and Privacy  

While natural light is fantastic, there are times when you'll want to control it for privacy or glare reduction. Here are some window treatment options:

  • Blinds and Shades: These versatile options can be adjusted to let in varying amounts of light while maintaining your privacy. If you want lots of light, you can open them wide. But if you prefer privacy or need to tone down the sunshine, adjust them. You can let in a little light or block it out completely, all while keeping your personal space hidden from prying eyes.
  • Sheer Curtains: Sheer curtains are like gentle diffusers of natural light. They let sunlight in but soften it so it's not too bright or harsh. Think of it as a cozy, ambient glow that fills your room. Plus, they add a touch of elegance to your windows while giving you some privacy.
  • Window Films: Frosted or decorative window films allow light in while obscuring the view from outside. These films block the view from outside, so you can enjoy the sunlight without worrying about anyone watching what you're up to.

So, whether you want to let the sunshine flood your room or need more privacy and glare control, these window treatment options have got you covered.

Harnessing Natural Light for Improved Well-being  

bright room with large windows

Harnessing the power of natural light isn't just about where you put your windows or what treatments you choose; there are additional ways to boost your well-being through sunlight. 

Consider creating special relaxation areas near your windows. These cozy corners are perfect for reading, meditating, or simply enjoying the warmth and light that streams in. It's a wonderful way to unwind and rejuvenate, surrounded by the calming influence of natural light.

Another strategy is introducing indoor plants into your living spaces, particularly near windows. These plants add a pleasing touch of greenery to your decor and thrive in sunlight. Placing them strategically ensures they get the light they need to flourish, contributing to your home's vibrant and healthy atmosphere.

Incorporating short breaks near a window into your routine can make a real difference for those who work from home. Stepping away from your desk to bask in natural light for a few moments can recharge your energy and brighten your mood.

Upgrade Your Windows Today with US Window and Door   

Optimizing the placement and design of your windows can make a huge difference in how much natural light you receive. It provides many health benefits and can reduce your electric bill.

If you want the best and easiest way to find and install the right windows in your home, you can trust US Window and Door. Our window experts will consult with you to determine the best window style and placement to maximize natural light and energy efficiency, no matter where you live in San Diego.

Contact us today for a free estimate!