Light is important to learning and behavior. There are many studies that have investigated the relationship between natural light and it’s affect on psychological well-being and children’s academic performance. Light helps regulate mood and affects cognitive performance. Indirect sunlight is best for learning and reading. An aspect of learning is that we learn when we feel secure, calm, happy and challenged. Natural light boosts mood, which, in turn, increases learning.
Different rooms require different types of light sources depending on their function, but regardless of the function, when looking at lighting, natural light has measurable health benefits.
What are the Benefits of Natural Light?
Natural light enhances the mood enhancing brain chemical, serotonin. Studies have shown the more sunlight exposure you receive the higher the level of serotonin in the body. This boost in serotonin helps your child feel calm and happy. Additionally, light affects the body’s internal clock thus it can improve sleep, release hormones, and boost overall well-being.
When you look at creating a mindful space for your child, there are aspects of lighting to consider:
- Avoid fluorescent lights. A study in 2017 examined fluorescent lighting in 90 classrooms with results showing that 80% of classrooms were lit with 100 Hz fluorescent lighting. Fluorescent lighting is linked with headaches and impaired visual performance. Not only do these lights cause discomfort, but children with sensory needs may experience sensory overload. If fluorescent lights are unavoidable consider covering them with light covers that filter and soften the light.
- Natural light is best. Fielding (2017) reports light is perhaps the single-most important element in the learning environment. Research shows that in classrooms with natural light math scores improve by 20% and verbal scores by 22%.
- Dimly lit areas help children relax. Mindful Child aerial yoga hammocks filters out light when inside it, creating a relaxing retreat. If your child is relaxing in a tent, it will also create a dimly lit area to practice mindfulness techniques.
- Smart bulbs are worth the cost. At Mindful Child, we installed LIFX smart bulbs in our overhead lights. We can easily dim them or change the colors creating a relaxing vibe. They are a great addition to the natural light we have from all of our amazing windows. At night, the smart bulbs create an ambiance that facilitates relaxation.
At Mindful Child, we have put a lot of thought into our conditions for calm and the optimal environment to help children relax and gain the most benefit from our mindfulness techniques. Light has a biological affect on children and adults, with natural light having brain changing benefits.
Boubekri, M., Cheung, I. N., Reid, K. J., Wang, C. H., & Zee, P. C. (2014). Impact of windows and daylight exposure on overall health and sleep quality of office workers: a case-control pilot study. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 10(6), 603–611. https://doi.org/10.5664/jcsm.3780
Roenneberg T, Kantermann T, Juda M, Vetter C, Allebrandt KV. Light and the human circadian clock. Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2013;(217):311-31. doi: 10.1007/978-3-642-25950-0_13. PMID: 23604485.
“Lighting and Discomfort in the Classroom.” Lighting and Discomfort in the Classroom – ScienceDirect. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Aug. 2017. <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272494408001011>.
Fielding, Randall. “Learning, Lighting and Color: Lighting Design for Schools and Universities in the 21st Century.” DesignShare (NJ1). DesignShare. 4937 Morgan Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55409-2251. Tel: 612-929-6129; Tel: 612-929-3520; Web Site: Http://www.designshare.com, 30 Nov. 2005. Web. 01 Aug. 2017. <https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED497664>.