How Natural Light Benefits Those with Dementia

Posted on July 1, 2021

When a real estate agent shows a home, one of the first highlights they point out is the amount of natural light in a room. There is a reason for this. Whether we realize it or not, we all seek out natural light. Without knowing why we crave as much of it as possible.

A Difference of Night and Day

We all want to work from a place with a view of the outside world or allow our homes to let in as much sunlight as possible, but did you know that the natural light we all seek can actually provide health benefits? This is especially true for individuals who are living with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

The Pavilion Senior Living offers memory care services in Lebanon and Carthage, Tennessee. We want to share the benefits of natural light and how you can bring more of it into your loved one’s life.

Shedding Light on Improving Mood

When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, many people’s first instinct is to treat the individual’s memory and cognitive abilities. While these areas are crucial, it is also necessary to address other symptoms of dementia, such as depression and increased agitation. Luckily, there is a natural way to help alleviate these symptoms: exposure to natural light.

Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience states, “exposure to light has been reported to activate the synthesis of serotonin in yeast extractions, suggesting a direct relationship between sunshine and the production of serotonin.”

Simply stated, exposure to natural light helps the body produce serotonin and endorphins, otherwise known as the “feel good” hormones. The more natural light we get, the more of these chemicals that our bodies produce.

Recalibrating the Internal Clock

Each one of us has an internal clock known as the inner circadian rhythm. This biological clock is triggered by light and darkness and can get out of balance if we are not exposed to enough natural light during the day or too much artificial light in the evening hours.

A common symptom of dementia is having trouble sleeping, and this is due to a person’s natural sleep cycle being disrupted. Fortunately, natural light can help to restore and reset this inner clock.

When the body is exposed to natural light, it slows the body’s ability to make melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. Additionally, natural light signals to your body that it is time to be awake.

By getting enough natural light, especially during the morning hours, individuals can recalibrate the inner circadian rhythm, have more energy during the day, and get more sleep at night.

Producing Vitamin D through Natural Light Exposure

Vitamin D is essential to our health and wellness. In addition to promoting strong bones, supporting the immune system, and reducing feelings of depression, vitamin D can lower the risk of developing dementia. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, “a large study published in Neurology showed that people with extremely low blood levels of vitamin D were more than twice as likely as those with normal vitamin D levels to develop Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.”

Exposure to natural light triggers the body to produce this essential vitamin. Also commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D can be produced from any natural light, indoors or outside.

Soaking Up the Sun

How to Get More Natural Light in Your Home

You and your loved one do not need to spend hours each day under the hot sun to reap the benefits of natural light. In fact, there are ways you can increase the amount of natural light inside your home.

  • Rearrange furniture, so it does not block windows
  • Ditch the drapes, or be sure to open the curtains each morning
  • Keep windows clean
  • Use mirrors to reflect the sunlight
  • Paint the interior of your home with light colors, allowing the light to reflect off the wall

At The Pavilion Senior Living, we understand the value of natural light and make an effort to bring in as much of it as possible. From our open floor plans to our covered, screened-in porches, residents in our memory care communities in Tennessee have multiple opportunities to reap all the benefits that natural light provides. 

To learn more about what our communities have to offer, contact The Pavilion Senior Living or visit our website.



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