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Originally published August 14 2014

Natural sunlight in hospitals would improve health and well-being of staff and patients

by L.J. Devon, Staff Writer

(NaturalNews) Walk through any run-of-the-mill hospital today and one will notice that there's more emphasis spent on keeping patients in bed connected to machines than there is helping patients stand to see the light and hope outside. Caring nurses are basically put to work in tunnels that have very little natural light shining through. Artificial light beams from the ceilings, from the televisions in every corner. Hospitals today are void of nature, lacking healing foods, and are sort of like caves with very little natural light and laughter.

There's more time devoted to paperwork than there is on preparing the appropriate healing foods that patients need in order to lift themselves off the beds. Hospitals should be leading the way in organic gardening, providing fresh whole foods for their patients' healing and recovery. Large greenhouses could provide year-round food and wonderful places to help patients get out of bed, walk around, soak in sunlight and recover.

But it's hard for medical authorities to admit why many of the patients are hospitalized in the first place, let alone admit that patients need whole foods for cellular recovery. Side-effect-ridden pharmaceutical drugs are a curse, setting people up over time, bringing pain and misfiring organs. They are the reason why many people are hospitalized. Of course, another drug is used to patch the side effects of the former one, and the cycle takes its toll on the body further until it's all said and done.

It's time to let happy, positive energy into hospitals, and that begins with natural sunlight

There are ways for hospitals to come alive, lifting spirits of patients and staff. A universal medicine that all people need is found in the rays of the sun. The free-flowing medicine of vitamin D can be incorporated into hospitals to boost well-being and immune system recovery. Additionally, natural light can brighten the mood of staff, creating a lower stress environment.

New Cornell research published in the Health Environments Research & Design Journal, suggests that natural light from the sun is the best medicine for hospital patients and staff.

In the research, Rana Zadeh, assistant professor of design and environmental analysis, found that, when nurses are given access to natural light, they laughed more, communicated more with their colleagues and had significantly lower blood pressure. This allowed them to serve their patients more effectively, because they were in better moods.

"The increase in positive sociability, as measured by the occurrence of frequent laughter, was... significant," noted Zadeh in the paper. Nurses put up with a wide range of patient emotions, and this can wear on them throughout the day. On top of that, they work at odd hours and for long periods of time. Many times, patient safety depends on a nurse's precision when performing demanding tasks. During Zadeh's research, when sunlight was allowed at nurse's workstations, their overall alertness and cognition improved, especially mood. The presence of the sun's light helped the staff manage sleepiness and improved workplace safety across the board.

Zadeh believes that hospitals could lower tension and stress levels if natural daylight was allowed into clinical work spaces. "Nurses save lives and deal with complications every day. It can be a very intense and stressful work environment, which is why humor and a good mood are integral to the nursing profession," Zadeh said. "As a nurse, it's an art to keep your smile -- which helps ensure an excellent connection to patients. A smart and affordable way to bring positive mood -- and laughter -- into the workplace, is designing the right workspace for it."

She also said that hospitals could have better patient outcomes if patients were in a more positive environment that included sunlight and better overall mood. "The physical environment in which the caregivers work on critical tasks should be designed to support a high-performing and healthy clinical staff. [I]mproving the physiological and psychological wellbeing of healthcare staff, by designing the right workspace, can directly benefit the organization's outcomes."

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