January can be a difficult month for a lot of people so it is essential that we allow ourselves time to switch off, relax and reflect on the year that’s been and the year to come, to reenergise ourselves from the pressures that the festive season can bring. A big factor in low mood during winter can be that our body clocks are all out of sync. We spend hours under artificial lights which can cause us insomnia, low mood and all sorts of other ailments, like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). One of the best ways for us to combat this is to allow ourselves exposure to natural light AND natural darkness.
Over thousands of years, humans have evolved to respond to the natural cues of day and light. Our body clocks were set by the rising and fall of the sun. The way our bodies are controlled is by hormones, produced only when these natural light cues hit our eyes. There’s a hormone produced by daylight, used to keep us alert and awake, and another one that builds up throughout the day so our brain knows it’s time to sleep when darkness falls. If you can spend ten minutes mindfully in nature, studies have shown even brief walks in natural daylight can help raise your spirits for the rest of the day. If you are working from home try to arrange your workspace by a window which allows in natural light. You can mimic natural cues by making sure you unwind at the end of the day with dim lighting, maybe some nice relaxing candlelight, an hour or so before bed. If it’s a clear sky, why not go out and see the true beauty of the night sky and wonder at the natural star and moonlight we are lucky to see in our dark sky area.
As part of the Prosiect Nos Dark Sky partnership we are inviting you to bring in a healthy new year by putting the lights out to support and raise awareness of our dark skies campaign.