Tag Archives: nature

Nature, particularly sun exposure leads to better Mood and increased Productivity.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD. Sunlight Institute…

Let’s face it. We humans love the sun exposure. If it weren’t for feelings of guilt, brought about by those who would rob us of our sun exposure, most of us would be soaking up much more sun. Nothing could be more natural than sun exposure, and a recent study from the scientific Journal PLOS ONE, helps us to understand that our natural inclinations lead us to the sunlight.[1]

The researchers analyzed data from 444 employees from both India and the US, and assessed them for job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Their goal was to investigate the effects of natural elements and sunlight on their performance. They found that natural elements such as plants, nature scenes and flowers improved mood and mental health. However, sun exposure had a considerably stronger effect than natural elements on mental health and was also positively related to job satisfaction and organizational commitment,[2] both of which are important to productivity.

Direct sunlight, or the lack thereof, was a dominant predictor of anxiety, whereas indirect sunlight, or the lack thereof was a dominant predictor of depressed mood, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment.

Many previous studies have also demonstrated that sun enhances mood. One of the most interesting was from the United Arab Emirates. Twenty people with depressive symptoms were split into two groups; one group was asked to spend more time in the sun, and another group was asked to see a doctor. The experiment lasted for seven weeks and showed that those who spent more time in the sun had fewer symptoms of depression than those who visited a doctor.[3]

Obviously, sun exposure has a wonderful influence on the brain. Keep your sunny side up!

[1] An M, Colarelli S, O’Brien K, Boyajian M. Why We Need More Nature at Work: Effects of Natural Elements and Sunlight on Employee Mental Health and Work Attitudes. PLoS One. 2016 May 23;11(5):e0155614.

[2] Chad Brooks, Open the Shades! Exposure to Outdoors Improves productivity. Business News Daily. July 22, 2016.

[3] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/06/sunshine-happiness-behavior-mood_n_4014477.html?ir=Sciences

Read More

Sleep Quality is improved by Exposure to Nature and Sunlight.

By Marc Sorenson, EdD, Sunlight Institute

A good, sound sleep is important to human health, both physical and mental. According to Dr. Diana Grigsby-Toussaint, “Studies show that inadequate sleep is associated with declines in mental and physical health, reduced cognitive function, and increased obesity.” She and her colleagues at the University of Illinois recently published a new study demonstrating that a natural environment may help people get the sleep they need.[1] The study showed that exposure to nature, which they dubbed “greenspace,” was associated with a more restful sleep. Other surroundings such as a sandy beach with an ocean view were also conducive to better sleep. One of the measurements used to qualify an area as greenspace was the availability of sunlight.[2]

I can attest to the fact that when I regularly walk through the pines and aspens located in the high mountains near my Nevada ranch, I sleep better at night. When I don’t get enough outdoor time in the trees and sunlight, I begin to suffer from what my friend, Dr. William Grant, calls nature-deficit disorder, or NDD. My whole mood is altered, and not for the better. Dr. Grant is not only a great sunlight scientist, but an avid birdwatcher, which takes him out daily do get his dose of nature.

We have a primal need for sunlight and natural surroundings, and too many city dwellers do not connect with sunlight and nature. Don’t fall into that trap. There is an adage that says, “What gets scheduled gets done.” Plan to be outside as often as possible and soak up some sun when it is available. Natural surroundings with sunlight are better than any psychiatrist or physician for maintaining mental and physical health.

[1] Grigsby-Toussaint DS, Turi KN, Krupa M, Williams NJ, Pandi-Perumal SR, Jean-Louis G. Sleep insufficiency and the natural environment: Results from the US Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. Prev Med. 2015 Sep;78:78-84.

[2] http://news.aces.illinois.edu/news/u-i-study-men-people-over-65-sleep-better-when-they-have-access-nature.

Read More