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If these walls could talk

Let there be light!

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07/01/2007 - A few years back, the term SADS was coined to name the common blues and depression that affected many during the winter months. The mystery of winter blues was traced to our tendency to spend more time indoors during winter, and therefore have less exposure to natural daylight. It was found that just as we need food, water, and air, for optimal health, we also need light.

Since that time, much research has confirmed our emotional and physical need for natural daylight. Studies show that school children taught in classrooms with full-spectrum light miss fewer days and have a better ability to concentrate. In addition, they grow more and actually have less tooth decay. Office workers show higher production levels. Shoppers even buy more when merchandise is displayed in daylight.

Our need for the healing power of light is great. Unfortunately with increasingly more time spent indoors, even in summer, SADS is no longer a seasonal malady. The advent of summer is not an automatic relief from SADS. The average person's lifestyle has changed so dramatically that now up to 90% of one's time is spent indoors.

Spending time outdoors is a must. There is no perfect substitute for time outdoors. In decorating, we should make choices that invite outdoor time. For instance, comfortable outdoor furnishings lure us out of our cave-dweller mode. A rocking chair or swing on an old-fashioned porch invites one out. Try an outdoor dining area on a screened porch or wind-sheltered patio, and what romantic heart can resist a garden gazebo?

Bringing nature and natural light into our interior spaces is also increasingly important. Since much of our time is still inevitably spent indoors we must consider our interior light sources. Large window openings and skylights bring light in. Courtyards, solariums and glassed entryways are large-scale architectural answers. Sunrooms and greenhouses are common for the individual homeowner. Artificial light that more closely simulates natural light is now available too. There is, therefore, bright full-spectrum light that brings potential help for the hopelessly indoor inner-office.

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