And Then There Was Light: 3 Reasons to Keep The Lights On

By Serena Piper

When I first moved into my apartment, I found that my roommates preferred to have the blinds closed. All the time. This wouldn’t have been a problem, except that I knew the darkness was going to get to me. Over the years I’ve discovered that I’m the type of person severely affected by the lighting of each room. If it’s dim, it’s warm and romantic; if it’s bright and light, I’m cheerful; and if it’s dark, I’m prone to becoming a little depressed.

After I felt settled in my new place, I felt comfortable opening the blinds each morning to let the sunshine in. What a difference! The room was brighter and instantly the whole apartment took on a new mood. I finally figured out that the reason my roommates kept the blinds closed all the time was that they were afraid someone would see their valuables through the window and decide to break in. No worries, we all agreed to get some of those window locks (which you can buy at any hardware store) and keep the doors locked at all times. So far, so good!

It occurred to me, however, that if my roommates lived blinds-closed, there might be others living by the same philosophy. But if we live in the dark, we’re missing out on an easy source of motivation and fresh perspective. Here are three reasons you should keep the lights on in your house and the blinds open:

  1. Bright light has been shown to increase alertness, reduce fatigue, and improve our daily coordination. Employers, are you listening?
  2. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) has been linked to a person’s lack of exposure to natural light. If you sit in the dark most of the time, you’re more likely to get SAD and depressed.
  3. In addition to helping to reduce your electricity bill, letting daylight into your home has also been shown to increase feelings of motivation. When you’re exposed to natural light, you’re less prone to negative emotions and you may find it easier to concentrate.

Bottom line: Don’t sit in the dark! Try keeping your curtains and blinds open for a week (except at night, of course) and see how you feel by the end of that week. You never know, you could feel a difference in how you feel and what you were able to accomplish. Even a small change is a good change.

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