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Bringing Outside To The Indoor Generation

Spending 90% of our time inside, we've become The Indoor Generation, and it's affecting our health and wellbeing.

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There's no denying it: we've officially become The Indoor Generation. It's estimated that we spend, on average, 90 percent of our time indoors, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with minimal access to daylight and fresh air. And while we may not be aware of it, research shows that this can be harmful to our overall health and wellbeing.

Indoor Air: It's Not What You Think It Is

Did you know that the air inside your house can be up to five times more polluted than the air outside? Today, 84 million Americans live in damp or moldy dwellings, increasing their risk of developing respiratory diseases and life-long allergies. In fact, living with stale air can cause physical health issues ranging from itchy eyes and headaches to asthma and insomnia.

Indoor air is polluted by a variety of things:

  • Excess CO2
  • Pet hairs
  • Food particles from cooking
  • Moisture from baths, showers, and washing machines

If you suffer from persistent symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose, red eyes, and headaches that seem to lessen when you're not home, poor indoor climate may be the cause. Additionally, damp and moldy environments can increase the risk of developing asthma by 40 percent.

Daylight Is A Necessity, Not a Luxury

Even the brightest artificial lighting cannot match daylight for keeping us healthy. Scientific research has shown links between lack of daylight and a variety of physical and mental problems. In fact, experts estimate that as much as 15 percent of the world's population suffer from different levels of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder, or winter depression). That's over 1.1 billion people!

There are also many other health issues connected to a lack of adequate daylight. Vitamin D deficiency, for example, has been linked to problems like fatigue and increased vulnerability to disease.

Artificial light can also disrupt our body's internal clock, which can lead to concentration issues, high blood pressure and even heart disease.

Kids' Bedrooms Are Often The Most Polluted...

...yet they are the most vulnerable to the impact of a poor indoor climate because their lungs and brains are still developing. In addition to the toxic particle sources around the home, many toys and electronic appliances found in children's rooms can be responsible for potentially harmful emissions.

Here's What You Can Do

It's important for all of us to re-think the way we live indoors. For our children and ourselves, we all have a responsibility to do everything we can to make sure our homes are healthy places to grow up in.

There are many ways to bring in daylight and improve the air quality in your home, as well as your overall health:

  1. Air out your home: Open multiple windows and skylights three to four times a day for at least 10 minutes. If you don't have skylights, consider installing some to better help air flow throughout your home.
  2. Follow the natural light: Move your dining room table or desk closer to the window.
  3. Get your body in rhythm: We can only sync up to the "sleep, work, live" 24-hour rhythm through the correct exposure to light and dark. If you can, orient your bedroom east so you get natural light in the morning. And make sure your curtains or blinds stop as much light as possible from entering the room at night.
  4. Exercise: Take a walk, go for a run, or do something else to get outside. Scientists agree that being exposed to two hours of daylight daily is a great boost to our mental wellbeing.
  5. Clean and air your carpets: Better yet, get rid of them if you can. Thick carpets are the perfect home for dust mites and bacteria.
  6. Natural drying: Limit the moisture in your home by drying your clothes outside and making sure your bathroom is properly ventilated.
  7. Nix the smoke: Smoking and candles can be particularly bad for indoor climates because of the harmful particles they give off.
  8. Turn off your electronics when you're not using them: Electrical appliances like TVs and computers emit chemicals that contribute to poor indoor climate.
  9. Opt for cleaning products with fewer chemicals: When possible, use microfiber cloths and natural materials like white vinegar and soap flakes.
  10. Keep plastics cool: Be aware that when plastics are warmed up, they can often give off potentially toxic fumes. If you have children, make sure their plastic toys aren't in direct sunlight. And, if you have floor heating installed, don't leave any plastic objects on the floor.

To learn more about The Indoor Generation and VELUX's plans to help bring the outdoors in, visit www.theindoorgeneration.com.



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