From cosy countryside to edgy and industrial, we all like our homes to look and feel a certain way. Your home is unique to you, and should feel like somewhere you can truly relax and recharge from the pressures of day to day life – so it makes sense that your home should be a place that benefits your health, as well. Setting up your home for health can feel overwhelming, but it needn’t be. Here are our top tips for making your home a healthier place in 2019.
Introducing houseplants to your home is a great first step to making it a healthier space. Not only do houseplants make your home more visually appealing, they also come with a whole host of health benefits. Studies have shown that introducing plants to interior spaces increases air quality, leading to fewer respiratory issues and reduced blood pressure. In addition to physical benefits, indoor plants have also been shown to improve mood, reduce stress levels, increase productivity and benefit attention span.
For those not naturally blessed with green fingers, there are a number of low maintenance houseplants that are great for getting started. Aloe Vera, Sansevieria and Spider Plants in particular are easy to maintain and have been shown to demonstrate their own health benefits, making them a great choice for houseplant novices.
LET IN THE LIGHT
The health benefits of exposure to natural light and, therefore, increased levels of vitamin D, are extensive. Increased vitamin D has been shown to help with a number of psychological conditions, including depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Healthy vitamin D levels can also help to aid the immune system, prevent bone loss, alleviate symptoms of asthma, and can even help with body weight maintenance. Increased natural light has even been shown to reduce eye strain and increase productivity, so there are plenty of reasons to let as much light into your home as possible!
The amount of natural light coming into your home may seem like something that’s out of your control, but there are ways to help maximise the effect of the sun’s rays in your living space. Keeping curtains and blinds drawn and removing net curtains is one way to increase the amount of light coming in. Placing wall mirrors opposite natural light sources can also be beneficial, as this will reflect light around the room. Opting for light coloured flooring and walls is also beneficial – some paints are even designed to reflect more light around the room, and can make the space feel larger and brighter.
UPDATE YOUR MATTRESS
Poor sleep has been linked to a number of serious health conditions, including depression, increased blood pressure and heart disease, as well as a number of musculoskeletal issues.
In many cases, the cause of poor sleep has been attributed to an unsuitable mattress. Old or poorly made mattresses rarely offer the support required to evenly distribute your weight, resulting in improper support for your back and misalignment of your joints that can, over time, lead to chronic pain. Old mattresses also provide the perfect home for bacteria and dust mites, which can lead to an increase in hay-fever like symptoms. Your mattress could even be causing or contributing to your snoring!
If you’re planning to update your mattress then there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, consider your favourite sleeping position - side or front sleepers will require a different mattress firmness to back sleepers, for example. If you’re sharing the bed then take this into consideration too - some mattresses are better at ‘absorbing’ the movement created by a partner rolling over or getting out of bed, meaning you’re less likely to be disturbed by them moving during the night. Finally, remember that different mattress fillings behave differently – memory foam, for example, will ‘seal’ in much more heat than mattresses with natural fillings and springs.
EAT AT THE TABLE
Gathering the family around the dinner table can make any mealtime feel like a special occasion, but did you know there are health benefits to eating at the table too? Eating at the table has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health – it encourages conversation, allowing people to forge deeper connections with those around them and giving them the opportunity to discuss any worries or concerns they may have encountered during the day. Family mealtimes also help children to develop social skills from an early age. From a biological perspective, eating at the table can also help benefit digestion. This is in part due to the upright seating position, but is also because we eat more slowly when we’re interacting with people around the table.
That all sounds great, but with long days and busy schedules to contend with how can you go about making eating at the table a habit in your home? Ensuring your dining furniture is up to the task is a good place to start – comfortable chairs and enough space at the table will go a long way towards making mealtimes at the table an enjoyable experience. Planning in advance is also key, both in regard to what you’ll eat and when. Set aside a day a week that works for everyone, and plan meals that you know the whole family will enjoy.