Darkness, Dirt, and Depression
How Dirty Windows Can Contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Exactly one month since the autumnal equinox, Latin for ‘equal nights’, and it has grown noticeably darker each evening. That sense of darkness will be even more impactful when the observance of DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ends, this year on the 7th of November, 2021. We enjoy the ‘extra’ hour of sleep that evening, however the loss of that hour’s light affects our evening routine.
Decreased sunlight has a direct bearing on our mood. As it grows darker, our bodies produce less serotonin, the brain chemical that controls our mood. Melatonin production is also decreased, as it is produced in proportion to the light received by the retina, affecting our sleep patterns. This combination of factors has a direct bearing on our mood. This may result in loss of energy, lack of interest, oversleeping, and feelings of hopelessness: symptoms of SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER. However, there are simple solutions to combat these ‘winter blues’.
While we experience darker evenings, the time shift means an earlier sunrise. Taking advantage of that by rising early and making the most of the morning light can help us get a good start for the day. A daily walk in the sunshine and fresh air, even for as little as ten minutes can make a difference. But as most of us spend our days indoors, especially with so many now working-from-home, light exposure may be minimal. In fact, even our home’s efficiency is affected by the lack of sunlight. It is therefore imperative to maximize light and sun exposure for the next two months, until December 21st, when the winter solstice begins, and sunlight once again increases.
The most cost effective way to boost mood, boost light, and boost energy efficiency is to thoroughly wash windows and glass doors. Even a little bit of dirt or dust on windows can affect your home’s energy efficiency. According to one study, windows bear 25–30% on home energy consumption. That means that dirty windows means less sunlight (heat) exposure, increasing energy consumption as your heating system works harder to heat your home. Therefore, clean windows, inside and outside, not only reduces your energy costs, it also allows more light to brighten your rooms and lift your spirits, boosting your mood, maximizing your use of energy.
Other helpful tips for boosting light include:
- Using mirrors to reflect natural light entering through windows.
- Using light colored paint on walls, light colored furnishings and floors, and adding reflective surfaces to help light bounce around the room.
- Add lighting. While skylights optimize sunlight, even adding lamps and other energy-efficient lighting can increase the brightness of dark days. Light Therapy (via Lightboxes) also helps to curb the effects of SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER, by tricking the eye, and therefore the brain, into receiving more light, boosting melatonin and serotonin production.
Banish the ‘Winter Blues’, take care of your home and your health by scheduling a Professional Window Cleaning, making your home clean, light, and bright.