The Benefits of Skylights in Schools

Skylights in School

Even when there’s sufficient artificial lighting in a classroom, students may not receive the full array of benefits that natural sunlight delivers. That’s because full-spectrum light affects human health in a variety of ways. Consistent and safe sunlight exposure is essential, especially for young children who are still growing and developing.

Reduce Eye Strain

Prolonged eye strain leads to a loss of visual acuity, resulting in nearsightedness. According to recent studies, nearsightedness is common among students when compared to the general population. While some eye strain results from too much mobile device screen time, poorly lit classrooms can also pose a danger.

Classrooms with skylights improve visual acuity by increasing the amount of natural light in the room. As children look up through the skylight, they will give their eyes a break from reading text or examining objects at close range. 

The sunlight will supplement the natural lighting in the room, further reducing the strain during the school day.

Boost Student Morale and Attendance

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that’s known as a feel-good hormone. Higher serotonin levels promote feelings of satisfaction, optimism, and happiness. The mood boost that this hormone provides helps you stay motivated and energized throughout the day. The most natural way to boost serotonin levels is through natural sunlight exposure. 

When there’s a skylight in the classroom, students will stay engaged and interested in their studies. They absorb the material more thoroughly, helping them perform better on tests. They will store the information in their long-term memory with greater efficiency, ensuring they retain the facts they learn.

Keep Stress Levels Lower

Regardless of age or grade, the learning environment creates higher stress levels. As students feel anxiety over learning complex facts and worry about completing assignments, their brains will release higher amounts of stress hormones. 

These stress hormones inhibit the learning process in addition to contributing to a variety of physical and emotional health conditions.

Serotonin helps to alleviate stress. Skylights that deliver more sunlight into the classroom increase the production of mood stabilizers in the brain. Feelings of anxiety and depression will subside as more feel-good hormones get released in the brain.

Enhance Physical Development

Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem among children and adults. Children need a minimum of 25 mcg of vitamin D per day. While this is half the daily value that adults require, it can still be difficult for children to obtain a sufficient amount. Since sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, safe sunlight exposure is essential.

Installing a skylight increases sunlight without raising the risks of sunburn and other types of skin damage. Students will receive daily exposure to the rays that increase vitamin D absorption. 

Since vitamin D is responsible for muscle and bone development in children, the increased availability of sunlight through a classroom skylight will enhance physical development.

Alleviate Headaches for Students and Teachers

It’s not uncommon for students to experience headaches. Classrooms and offices have similar types of lighting, making tension headaches and migraines more likely. While schools can’t eliminate the use of artificial lighting completely, they can reduce the need for it by installing skylights.

In addition to the ambient heat and soft buzzing that artificial lighting creates, additional factors contribute to headaches among students. Stress, vitamin deficiencies, and eye strain all work together to promote more severe and frequent headaches. 

When there’s a skylight in the classroom, your classroom will reduce or eliminate these factors. This results in fewer headaches for your students and faculty. You may see a reduction in missed days after installing classroom skylights. 

Spring Hill School is among the first facilities to take advantage of these benefits with its innovative skylight designs.

Treat the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Just as sunlight exposure promotes the release of mood-stabilizing hormones, the lack of it can lead to an opposite condition. People who don’t get sufficient sunlight during the day tend to suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In addition to negatively impacting the mood or emotional state, symptoms of SAD include:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Low energy
  • Poor focus

Adding one skylight to a classroom is enough to combat this condition. For most students and teachers, the skylight will provide sufficient natural lighting to eliminate this condition without the need for other forms of treatment.

Promote Better Nighttime Sleep

Everyone has an internal clock called the circadian rhythm. In addition to aiding in biological functions, the circadian rhythm also regulates sleep and wakefulness. 

It manages these states by using sunlight exposure to determine the time for each state. When the sun sets, the circadian rhythm triggers the release of a sleep hormone called melatonin.

When students spend the majority of their day in a room with artificial lighting, their circadian rhythms become disrupted. Their brains might produce sleep hormones during the day or fail to release them at night. The result is poor sleep habits that interfere with learning, memory, and energy. 

A skylight in the classroom helps keep the circadian rhythm on track to ensure students stay alert during the day. They will sleep better at night and return to class feeling refreshed and focused.

Installing Skylights Provides Long-Term Student Benefits

Even when your classrooms have traditional windows, the angle of the sun affects how much light each room receives. When you install skylights in your classrooms, every room will receive natural light for longer periods throughout the day. This will benefit the health, morale, and performance of your students.

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