Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Delight of Light; Natural Light Is Essential for Our Wellbeing, Says Katharine Burnett

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Delight of Light; Natural Light Is Essential for Our Wellbeing, Says Katharine Burnett

Article excerpt

Byline: Katharine Burnett

NEW research proves the importance of light in our lives -- and why we should welcome more of it into our homes. Daylight maintains the daily cycle of activity and sleep -- our circadian rhythm -- that allows us to perform at our best. It is how we make vitamin D, important for our immune systems and healthy bones. It helps to control the hormones that govern many of our bodily functions. Even our genes respond to daylight, helping us to fight disease. We know that light is antibacterial -- Florence Nightingale understood that-- and that it makes us feel good and encourages us to get outside and enjoy the open air.

BATHING IN LIGHT IS BETTER FOR YOU THAN WATER Science is stressing the importance of daylight but are we getting enough of it in our homes? The Royal Institute of British Architects recently launched a campaign -- HomeWise -- that calls for government to set a minimum threshold for light (and space) in buildings. Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud, together with architects, especially those working in cities, are signing up to the campaign at withoutlightandspace.

com urging designers to include more light. According to the campaign 63 per cent of us rate natural light as the most important aspect of a home.

Diabetes, insomnia, diminished immune system, premature ageing, depression, obesity, and disruption of sleeping patterns are all conditions connected to the amount of light we receive in our lives. "The average European spends 90 per cent of his time indoors," explains Per Arnold Andersen, head of the Knowledge Centre for Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate -- part of Velux, the Danish company perhaps best known for manufacturing roof windows. "But 30 per cent of all buildings provide an unhealthy indoor climate with too little daylight," he adds.

Velux also sponsors the Daylight Symposium, a group of scientists and academics who meet every two years to discuss advances in the understanding of the very complex subject of daylight. A speaker at last month's gathering in Copenhagen was Deborah Burnett, a California-based designer and member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, who has done extensive research into the effects of daylight on the body. …

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