The Effects Rooflights can have on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

July 20, 2023

Have you ever wondered why you might feel more sluggish, sad, or sleepy during winter?

When the nights get longer and the clocks go back, we lose a significant amount of daylight. In the lead-up to the winter solstice (December 21st), our days get shorter until the UK eventually has its shortest day, seeing just 7 hours and 49 minutes of sunshine.

But what about this lack of daylight affects us so much? Why does getting up in the morning suddenly feel more challenging? For some, it may be a seasonal preference, and for others, a seasonal disorder.

Stick with TuffX as we dive into the details of the ‘winter depression’ that’s all too common. We’ll discuss how to spot it, some possible causes and how rooflights may combat SAD.

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

According to the NHS, Seasonal Affective Disorder (often abbreviated to SAD) is a ‘type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern’: this is because the symptoms typically worsen during the winter and improve when the summer months return.

Sufferers may find themselves experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Sleeping for longer periods and finding it difficult to wake up in the morning
  • A loss of interest in activities that were once part of your daily routine
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and lethargy
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Irritability and difficulty concentrating

What causes SAD?

Mental health professionals cannot pinpoint the exact cause of SAD; however, they believe a decreased exposure to sunlight affects some parts of the brain (mainly the hypothalamus) negatively, causing a persistent low mood.

How does light affect seasonal affective disorder?

Natural daylight plays a bigger role in regulating the body than many realise.

For example, the body’s circadian rhythm (your internal body clock) uses light to regulate vital body functions, like waking up and falling asleep. Due to darker mornings and evenings, your body clock may be thrown off, triggering lethargy and depression.

That’s where rooflights may come in handy!

What are Rooflights?

Rooflights, also known as skylights, are windows installed on the roof of a building.

One of the most common rooflights is our framed glass rooflight with a thermally broken aluminium frame surrounding the pane.

They’re designed to improve natural daylight levels indoors, improve your property’s energy efficiency, and add value and architectural interest to your home.

But most important to SAD is their ability to flood indoor areas with plenty of sunshine. So, what exactly are the effects rooflights can have on SAD? We’re about to find out!

The Benefits of Rooflights in Combating SAD

1.   Increased Natural Light

As we’ve learnt, rooflights significantly increase the amount of natural light that enters a room.

The additional influx of daylight can mitigate the effects of SAD by providing a closer approximation to the light levels experienced during the warmer months.

As this increased exposure has been shown to positively influence mood, energy levels, and well-being, incorporating rooflights into your property may reduce SAD symptoms.

2.   Mood Enhancement

With increased levels of natural light comes the production of the happy hormone!

Serotonin is thought to affect human sleep quality, appetite and mood regulation, with some studies showing that a serotonin deficit can cause mood disorders like depression. So, this begs the question: how can we up our serotonin in the winter?

Well, scientists have identified a correlation between exposure to daylight and increased serotonin levels. One study even found that while bright light is

a standard treatment for seasonal depression, it may even be able to treat non-seasonal depression!

The abundance of natural light provided by rooflights can positively impact an individual’s mood.

As natural light stimulates this neurotransmitter, installing a rooflight in your home may act as a form of mood enhancement by promoting feelings of happiness,

3.   Visual Comfort

Rooflights offer an excellent source of diffuse natural light for a visually comfortable environment.

Unlike artificial lighting, natural light does not cause harsh glare or uneven illumination.

With rooflights, you can reduce eye strain and promote greater visual comfort: this can be particularly beneficial for individuals who spend long hours indoors during winter.

4.   Connection to Nature

Rooflights give you greater outdoor access from the comfort of your sofa.

The ability to see the sky, clouds and changing natural light patterns can help you feel more connected to nature.

For many, this can positively influence their mental well-being and counteract the feelings of isolation commonly associated with Seasonal Affective Disorder.


Are rooflights only beneficial for individuals with Seasonal Affective Disorder?

No, while rooflights have significant benefits for individuals with Seasonal Affective Disorder, they can also enhance the well-being and comfort of anyone living or working in spaces with limited access to natural light.

Do rooflights require additional maintenance compared to regular windows?

Rooflights generally require minimal maintenance and upkeep. Regularly cleaning the glass surface and ensuring proper sealing is essential for longevity.

However, modern rooflight designs often incorporate self-cleaning features and durable materials that reduce the need for frequent maintenance.

Can rooflights provide natural light even on cloudy days?

Yes, rooflights can still provide a significant amount of natural light on cloudy days.

While the intensity of the light may vary depending on the location, time of day and weather conditions, TuffX’s rooflights are designed to capture daylight and distribute it into your home.

Even on overcast days, the diffusion of natural light can enhance a room’s overall brightness and atmosphere.

How can I determine the right size and placement of rooflights for my space?

To determine the right size and placement for your rooflights, contact us. Give us a call on 0345 3400 200 to get your home transformation started! We’ll collaborate with you or an architect to find the right place to put your product.