The benefits of sunshine on our skin are numerous for our well-being. Direct sunlight increases feel-good endorphins and improves our mood and can lift depression. You might also have heard that the sun shining on you through a window does not offer the health benefits that are gleaned from direct contact with our brightest star. If you or someone know is homebound and unable to get outside and enjoy the daylight there is good news. Studies now indicate that you can indeed receive benefits from the sun through a window glass.
Humans need natural light to survive because in addition to being a mood booster it increases mental and physical health as well as productivity. The windows in a building allow us to enjoy as much natural light as possible while still being indoors. Those who are shut in can obtain the same boost from the sun shining through a window that others get while in direct contact with our brightest star. Those who are deficient in Vitamin D will be glad to know that they can get plenty of this nutrient by simply sitting near a window inside of their home.
Vitamin D is critical for the immune system, which is strengthened by consistent exposure to sunlight. A healthy immune system reduces the risk of infections, illness, some forms of cancer, and also has been shown to improve mortality after surgery. According to a study done at the University of Edinburgh, sunlight on the skin may also be able to reduce blood pressure, cut the risk of heart attack and stroke - and even prolong life. This validates the fact that we need fresh air and sunshine to thrive and were not meant to remain indoors.
Those who are in wheelchairs can be seated close to a window and you can push a bedbound person's bed to the window where the sun comes in. This may be at different times of the day because the sun rises in the East and sets in the West. When you know it's time for those rays to come through the window just get ready. You can also adjust the wheelchair or bed as the sun moves through the sky. Even if you are not an invalid you can enjoy the sunshine coming through the window pane. This is a special benefit during the cold weather months when you cannot choose to go outside.
Those who are bound to the house can also increase other benefits of nature in addition to obtaining sunlight through a window. House plants increase oxygen and remove toxins from the air just as trees do when you are outside. Fill your home with plants to maximize indoor health benefits. You may also want to investigate using blue light therapy during the daylight hours which will decrease melatonin levels. Blue light from the sun can be obtained between 7:00 and 11:00 AM.
If you cannot get sunlight into the housebound person's room until later, you miss these benefits that result in more restful sleep at night which helps our brains to be healed and restored. There are two options that will assist those who are unable to get outside. A Himalayan salt lamp during the night will promote peace and encourage a good night's sleep. Everyone who can get outside for fresh air, exercise, sunshine, and oxygen from trees should do so. These other options will help those who cannot and perhaps speed recovery so that one day they can enjoy the great outdoors again.