A quarter of UK adults could be starving themselves of much needed vitamin D from sunlight by regularly staying inside for days at a time, according to a study.
Researchers polled 2,000 adults and found a fifth of the population failed to leave their house for five days – or more – in succession over the last 12 months.
And this figure doesn’t include those required to self-isolate or quarantine due to the pandemic.
Even those with a garden or outdoor area (25%), admitted they rarely spend time outside enjoying them.
The study found two thirds of adults admit a lack of natural light negatively impacted their mood and overall mental wellbeing.
Working adults are also missing out on vital exposure to vitamin D, with 42% admitting they almost never venture outside for a lunch break.
A third of those polled recognise this is a problem and admit they spend too much time cooped up indoors.
Furthermore, a quarter of all adults accept they do not have enough exposure to natural light, and almost a fifth believe there is a distinct lack of it in their homes.
The research was commissioned by VELUX to highlight the importance of natural light to our health and wellbeing.
Following the findings, the roof window manufacturer has teamed up with Danish architecture firm Henning Larsen to create an installation called "The Cube" for London Design Festival.
Visitors will get the chance to experience "an artistic interpretation of natural light and fresh air" with the aim of demonstrating the difference both these things could make to their homes.
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Eva Ravnborg, design director at Henning Larsen, said: “At Henning Larsen, we share a mutual interest and history with VELUX in that we work with daylight.
“In Scandinavia, where we’re based, daylight is a resource that we work with very consciously. It is sometimes in abundance, sometimes scarce, but most of all it’s ever-changing!
“Getting an opportunity to collaborate on The Cube by VELUX has been a perfect opportunity to be playful with daylight and create a special experience for the visitors”.
The study, conducted via OnePoll, found adults negatively affected by a lack of natural light felt less motivated (44 percent), with 40% feeling less happy, 24% more anxious, and 33% becoming irritable.
A spokesman for VELUX said: “In general we know we need to eat well and do exercise, but natural light isn’t something people tend to consider, as the study shows.
“But there are so many benefits to natural light. It makes more difference to our health than you might think.
“It’s good for our skin. It helps ward off seasonal depression and can even improve quality of sleep, so its positives shouldn’t be underestimated.
“Looking after oneself is something we know we need to do but it can easily fall by the wayside due to a whole host of commitments in our daily lives.
“But actually it is easier than you might think. Getting just a few minutes of natural light of course is one way which will make all the difference.”
The Cube by VELUX, the free-to-visit special project at London Design Festival, will be open from 18th – 26th September at Observation Point. More information can be found here.
TOP BENEFITS OF NATURAL LIGHT:
- People need daylight to help control the most basic metabolic processes, just as they need food and water.
- Sunlight is a natural anti-depressant.
- Adequate daylight is associated with improved mood, less obesity, less fatigue and eye strain, more restful sleep, and more immunity to diseases and infections.
- Better daylight conditions increase learning and concentration by up to 15 percent.
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