Improve Your Health with a Sunroom:
to many scientific studies, bright light (of which natural sunlight is
cheapest and most effective) is effective in preventing, treating and
improving a variety of health conditions. Even where serious health
conditions don´t exist, research has shown that moderate exposure to
natural sunlight can still improve health by: (1) stimulating the immune
system to optimal levels (immune cell activity goes up when melatonin
levels go up), (2) by increasing activity levels (even indoors), and (3)
by creating an improved overall sense of “well-being.”
Why do sunrooms make us feel good? Read the following scientific summaries on a variety of health conditions and you'll be amazed!
Summary: Several studies have shown that full spectrum light (natural sunlight) has unequivocal positive effects on students. Specifically, students with natural sunlight (1) learned faster, (2) had overall higher test scores, (3) grew faster (physically), and (4) had 1/3 fewer absences due to illness. These benefits of natural sunlight were in addition to other well-known effects such as improved mood and improved sleeping patterns. The same studies noted that students exposed to natural sunlight had 2/3 fewer cavities than expected.Click here to view sources.
Summary: As humans get older, melatonin levels decrease, but the question arises as to whether this decrease causes aging (in part) or whether aging itself causes the decrease in melatonin. There is evidence from a variety of sources that “decreasing melatonin levels in your aging body may not be a consequence of growing older. Rather it may contribute to the aging process. It appears that by supplementing melatonin levels we may be able to extend our youth by more than 10 years,” (pg.2). Several studies have shown that the pineal gland appears to be the internal biological clock that controls aging. Melatonin may work in another way to slow the process of aging. As a powerful antioxidant it can slow the damage that appears to exacerbate more than 60 degenerative diseases including cataracts, heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer´s Disease, Parkinson´s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis and more. Melatonin is an efficient antioxidant because it works in all areas of the body and on all cellular types (even the brain), unlike many other antioxidants which are selective in their properties. Melatonin is also one of the safest antioxidants because of its lack of toxicity. Melatonin slows digestion, heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and more. It may not be surprising that it also slows aging. One of the best ways to promote a healthy melatonin response at night is to receive a dose of strong sunlight during the day. As people age they are less prone to go outside in the sunshine. This disrupts the body´s melatonin cycle. A Sunshine Room can be a great way of easily getting the sunshine your body needs.Click here to view sources.
Summary: Natural light can minimize some of the effects of Alzheimer´s Disease, including sleeplessness at night, physical inactivity during the day, lack of ability to regulate body temperature and related symptoms associated with the disease. Alzheimer´s patients exposed to high levels of light during the day (especially during the morning hours) slept better at night and were up less. They slept less during daytime hours and were physically more active during the daytime. They were also able to regulate their body temperature significantly better than persons who did not get regular doses of light, thereby avoiding abnormal body temperature fluctuations commonly seen in Alzheimer´s patients. In addition to regulating certain biorhythms, natural sunlight on the skin causes the body to produce vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 synthesis from natural sunlight is the single largest source of vitamin D3 for the body. And it has been noted that vitamin D3 may play a very protective role in both memory performance (De Viragh et al, 1992) as well as neurodegeneration associated with Alzheimer´s Disease (Sutherland et al, 1992).The biological basis behind Alzheimer´s Disease and supplementing additional sunlight for the Alzheimer´s patient is that the disease process of Alzheimer´s damages a part of the brain known as the Suprachiasmatic Nucleusor (SCN). This part of the brain uses light signals from the eyes to control the body clock and circadian rhythms. Thus it is essential to the Alzheimer´s patient as brain damage progresses that light be supplemented on what is commonly found in most indoor environments. It may also be noted that normal sunlight is far stronger and thus more effective than any of the artificial sun lamps on the market.Click here to view sources.
Summary: Moderate exposure to sunlight is linked to a decreased risk for breast cancer. In addition, because older women are more prone to breast cancer than younger women, they were also the ones most likely to benefit from the positive effects of sunshine. “New studies indicate that vitamin D, a nutrient made by the skin during exposure to sunlight, can lower the risk of breast cancer by 30 percent to 40 percent and perhaps even more” (The On-Line National/World). Doctors believe this is because the body produces vitamin D with exposure to sunlight and vitamin D is believed to lower the risk of breast cancer. About 15 minutes per day in the sun should be sufficient to receive the preventive effects. One need not stay in the sun long enough to tan and it is important to stress that moderate exposure is all that is needed to prevent breast cancer and avoid premature skin aging as well as skin cancer.Click here to view sources.
Summary: The main source of calciforal (vitamin D3) for the body is gained from exposure to natural sunlight. Supplements help, but are often not absorbed fully. Vitamin D3 is essential for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. The study compared calcium absorption under two different lighting systems -- one which included natural sunlight and other which did not. The study found that calcium absorption increased 15% under full spectrum light (natural sunlight). It also noted that calcium absorption decreased 25% under standard lights.Click here to view sources.
Summary: Circadian rhythms are normal biological factors (such as body temperature, sleep/wake schedule and hormones) that cycle on a regular pattern. Many circadian rhythms are disrupted by one´s normal light /dark schedule. Melatonin is one hormone (secreted by the pineal gland) which cycles on a 24 hour basis. Melatonin is believed to assert a coordinating or regulatory effect over a number of other circadian cycles\rhythms. Melatonin itself has sedative qualities and helps reduce anxiety, panic disorders, and migraines, and induces sleep. In addition melatonin plays an integral function in healthy immune system functioning. Melatonin production goes up dramatically during prolonged periods of darkness and is inhibited during periods of light. A strong high-low cycle is good. And a weak cycle caused by low levels of light during the day may cause insomnia, irritability, and other disorders. With regular sunlight, the cycle of melatonin will regulate within a few days. This in turn will help regulate other circadian cycles, improving one´s sleep, and more.Click here to view sources.
Summary: While everyone experiences mild symptoms of depression from time to time, chronic (long-term) feelings such as guilt, anxiety, despair, misery, normal tasks becoming increasingly frustrating and difficult, irritability, hopelessness and loss of libido, could be symptoms of a larger, more serious disorder such as Seasonal Affective Disorder. See “Seasonal Affective Disorder” below.Click here to view sources.
Summary: Exposure to both natural sunlight and artificial bright light created significant reductions in pre-menstrual syndromes including depression, mood swings, irritability, physical discomfort, and social withdrawal (possibly related to reduction of depression). Research from the University of California in San Diego shows that bright natural light is effective in treating depression associated with PMS. Studies have shown that women who experience significant PMS symptoms produce less melatonin than women who don´t (especially during the week prior to the onset of PMS symptoms). These and other findings have resulted in a melatonin-based treatment for PMS. Melatonin during the luteal phase of the menstruation cycle leads to a substantial reduction of PMS symptoms and in some cases may cause a complete disappearance of symptoms. To preserve your natural supply of melatonin, increase your exposure to sunlight, spending at least an hour a day in natural sunshine. Morning sunshine appears to be most effective in maintaining healthy levels of melatonin.Click here to view sources.
Summary: Enhanced light levels improve employee performance, especially when the employees make heavy use of their eyes alone or eyes-hands. A high light level during the day not only helps employees to see better, reducing accidents, but also helps employees to sleep better at night, resulting in higher levels of alertness. Evidence shows that the reverse also works for third shift workers exposed to bright lights (i.e., they experience an increase in alertness, performance and quality of daytime sleep).Click here to view sources.
Summary: That feeling of tiredness catches up with everyone at some point. However, chronic lethargy or fatigue may be a symptom of a bigger problem such as Seasonal Affective Disorder when it comes to the point that it interferes with daily living (such as canceling appointments, missing work and avoiding pleasurable activities). See “Seasonal Affective Disorder” below.Click here to view sources.
Summary: One study by John Ott, Ph.D. indicates the importance of having balanced high quality light. A number of other studies also show that not just quantity, but quality, of light is important for health and a good sense of “well-being.” In the study by Dr. Ott, identical strains of mice were placed in otherwise identical environments with the only changes being the type of light they were exposed to.
Overeating (usually carbohydrate craving), especially overeating during the winter months, is often a symptom of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). While some weight gain (resulting from overeating) is normal during winter months, many times it can be improved with exposure to natural sunlight. Sunlight in the winter is less intense than it is during summer months. Longer periods of sun exposure may be needed in the winter to combat overeating (carbohydrate cravings) than may be needed in summer.Click here to view sources.
Summary: Ultra-violet light (which is found in full-spectrum sunlight) is regularly prescribed by physicians to reduce symptoms of psoriasis. Natural sunlight can significantly improve psoriasis as well. Interestingly, vitamin D3 cream is also prescribed to treat psoriasis (topically) and vitamin D3 is also produced naturally in the body by exposure to sunlight. In fact approximately 90% of the body´s stores of vitamin D3 come from exposure to sunlight and not through diet. The effects of sunlight on psoriasis are two-fold: (1) the ultra-violet light (UVB component) itself inhibits psoriasis and (2) the increased production of vitamin D inhibits psoriasis. Many studies have shown that moderate sunlight such as that received through normal use of a sunroom will not speed premature aging of the skin and may help improve a variety of specific ills, not to mention a general sense of well-being.Click here to view sources.
Summary: Most people experience mild symptoms in the winter such as eating and sleeping more, a dislike of dark mornings and short days, sleeping but not feeling refreshed in the winter and family problems. Mild seasonal symptoms such as these are normal. However, when they become disruptive to normal daily life, the person is said to have “Seasonal Affective Disorder” or SAD. Studies have shown that persons with SAD do not have normal levels of melatonin in their blood. SAD tends to affect elderly persons more than younger persons simply because they tend to be indoors more of the time than younger persons. Regular doses of natural sunlight can restore normal melatonin levels and normal patterns of melatonin secretion, thereby improving mood (and mood swings), depression, and a variety of other disorders related to SAD. Full-spectrum light sends nerve signals from the retinas to the pineal gland in the brain (the source of melatonin production). Sunlight inhibits melatonin production and darkness dramatically increases melatonin levels. The brain interprets normal indoor light levels as “darkness.” Proper melatonin levels are a balance. In order to get a strong melatonin response at night, it´s necessary to shut off melatonin production during the day. One of the best ways to do this is through exposure to natural sunlight.Click here to view sources.
Summary: Sleeping problems, especially during fall and winter months, can often be attributed to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Sleep symptoms include: (1) sleeping and/or sleeping longer, but not feeling refreshed upon awakening, (2) difficulty waking up and/or getting out of bed, (3) needing a nap in the afternoon, (4) light sleeping (easily waking up) at night, (5) frequently being awake for long periods of time at night, and (6) difficulty falling asleep at night. Most if not all of these symptoms can be relieved by restoring healthy melatonin levels. And one of the best ways to restore melatonin to its optimal levels, especially at night, is to get strong sunshine during the day (especially in the morning.Click here to view sources.
Summary: Vitamin D (the type made by the body is actually vitamin D3, also known as Cholecalciferol) is important to a variety of body processes. It is significant to note that human evolution included daily sunshine as the most critical factor involved in vitamin D production. Apparently humans have long needed sunshine on a daily basis. Vitamin D is important for the absorption of calcium and phosphates from our diet. Without vitamin D, calcium passes through the digestive system unused. Vitamin D has been shown to have a strong inhibitory effect on cell growth and is under evaluation as a potential chemotherapeutic in breast cancer, colon cancer and leukemia (Feldman et al., 1996 in DiaSorin, 2000). Vitamin D deficiency may be a risk factor in prostate cancer as rates of prostate cancer are higher in northern latitudes where overall people get less sunlight (Hanchette and Schwartz, 1992 in DiaSorin, 2000). Vitamin D also boosts memory performance and increases neuron connections in patients with Alzheimer´s disease (De Viragh et al., 1992 in DiaSorin, 2000).Click here to view sources.
Can Sunrooms and Greenhouses Improve Your Health? YES!