Light Stimulates Us

I thawed today. Ahhhhhhhhh, it felt soooooooo gooooood, sitting in the sun and letting the rays penetrate the four layers I was still wearing from the night – a thick undershirt, a turtle-neck, a woolen tank-top with a hood, and a(nother) hoodie – to warm my stiff limbs! After some time in the warmth I took off the hoodie and the tank-top. And I raised the bottom part of my sweat pants for the sun to get to the skin of my legs and stimulate some vitamin-D production… brrrrr.

Things are slowly returning to normal after a week of freezing cold, crazy rainstorms, and meters of snow and hail in many parts of the country, leading to flooded and blocked roads, water leaks in buildings (including our sweet two-room, one-level home) and power failures, leaving thousands of families without heating, warm water and light – not to mention internet, radio, and TV. Israel is simply not equipped to deal with such weather conditions.

Hail in the Holy Land
Hail in Kfar Saba, ‘Arim’ Mall, Dec. 2013
fox home rain drops2
Water dripping from the ceiling in the FOX home accessories store in Kfar Saba. The rain was just too much. Dec. 2013

But now the sun is back, last puddles are drying up, the birds have resumed chirping and tweeting, and light and life are filling the air again.

First sunlight above my bed. That is how I always want to wake up!
First morning sunlight above my bed, two days ago. That is how I always want to wake up!

I don’t think I could live in a place where the sun doesn’t show for weeks on end. I would probably become an addict of some mind-dulling unhealthy substance.

Light and Sun – why are they so important to us (besides the fact that they are necessary for photosynthesis in plants, which are the basis of all life on earth)?

“Light does have an effect on a person’s mood. The amount and wavelength of light affects the different functions of the brain, including the regulation of a person’s thoughts and feelings. With this knowledge comes a realization that simple adjustments in lighting in homes and offices can make a lot of difference to the way a person thinks and feels. Having this in thought, wouldn’t it be equally right to advice a depressed person to ‘get some light?’ ” (A great site BTW. With lots of other interesting articles, like “10 Reasons Why People Never Reach Their Goals And Tips…”)

“Sunlight triggers our circadian rhythms, our sleep-wake cycles. When sunlight hits the optic nerve, the brain cuts down on the release of melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep, and increases production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter tied to wakefulness and feeling happy. When the sun sets, this cycle is reversed, with more melatonin produced and less serotonin. The more sunlight the body receives, the more serotonin the brain produces. In addition, the body also creates vitamin D from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. High levels of vitamin D help our bodies maintain high levels of serotonin.”

“Lighting can help create excitement in a themed environment. Lighting can help a person navigate through a new space. Lighting can help to bring about a sense of calm and peacefulness in a sacred setting. Lighting can help to add mystery in a theatrical production. And, lighting can cause us to strongly dislike a room which we would otherwise find appealing.”

“…changes in the lighting produced significant changes in the response – impressions such as spaciousness, visual clarity, privacy, pleasantness, relaxation, complexity. By linking lighting to these impressions, Flynn demonstrated that architectural lighting plays a much more significant role in the human experience than simply as an enabler of task performance.”

“An environment that we call, “stimulating,” is one that is both arousing and pleasant, while one that we call, “tense,” is also arousing but a bit unpleasant. A “relaxing” space rates low on arousal but relatively high on pleasure, while a “dreary” space is also low on arousal but elicits a response that is low on pleasure as well.”

And here are some photos (click on them to enlarge) I took in sunny and very warm November at the Herzlia beach and marina:

opportunistic hooded crow herzlia beach

beach3Elevator to the BeachYam Sheva2Yam Sheva7Papagaio rest

Marina Herzlia

20 thoughts on “Light Stimulates Us

    1. You mean the grey? Thanks! I’ve been playing with the colors so much because whenever I found a combination that I liked, the photo captions or the the text weren’t legible…. I think now it can stay put.


  1. Film directors use the colour as well as the level of light to affect our reactions to what they are showing use. As with the music they use for similar effect, this can often be subliminal.


    1. True. When I choose a place to meet with someone, I always consider the lighting+colors, they are even more important to me than the food or drinks offered. And yes of course, MUSIC and odors!! (should definitely be added during movie screenings!!!), they have the power to turn us inside out and upside down within seconds, right? 😉


  2. Glad the sun has returned to your town. Here in New York the last three days we have had two large snowstorms and below zero temperatures. Right after each storm the sun shines brightly and makes the snow glisten like millions of tony diamonds. But no warm beaches to sink your feet into. I wish you and your family a Blessed Holiday 🙂


    1. I love the glistening snow diamonds, but only from behind a double-glass window 😉 . We don’t celebrate Christmas here in Israel but blessings are always useful and welcome. Thank you! and enjoy the holiday. Heila


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