Did you know that, according to SnowBrains, the average American spends more than 90% of their life indoors? About 6% of their time is spent in automobiles, with the other 87% spent inside. This only leaves 7% of their lives having been spent outdoors.
Even though it’s common, this doesn’t mean that it’s okay. If you’ve noticed that you’ve been spending too much time inside recently, you may have noticed some of the negative effects of staying indoors.
Have you been feeling sluggish or depressed? Does it seem like, when the sun is out, it isn’t actually out at all? Or maybe you keep getting sick and don’t know why.
All of these problems could be caused by your staying inside too long. But how do you know if that’s the cause? If you don’t know, you might feel stressed about your physical or mental health.
In this article, we’ll review the negative effects of staying indoors too long. We’ll also help you get back on your feet and outside. Finally, you can start feeling great again. Read on to learn more.
The Negative Effects of Staying Indoors on Your Mental Health
One of the reasons why you shouldn’t stay indoors too long is that it can have negative effects on your mental health. These effects can include sleep issues, mental health issues related to a lack of sunlight, mood swings, appetite changes, and more.
What happens when you stay indoors? One of the worst things that can happen is sleep issues. This is because you need exposure to sunlight so that your body’s circadian rhythm can function properly. Your circadian rhythm regulates things such as:
- When your body wants to fall asleep
- When your body wants to wake up
- Your metabolism, hormones, and body temperature
When your circadian rhythm isn’t functioning properly, the time you fall asleep and wake up, as well as many of your essential functions, might be negatively affected. And your circadian rhythm is affected by darkness and light.
When it’s the daytime, your brain naturally releases signals in your body that tell your body to wake up. At night, the opposite happens, with it releasing melatonin, which helps you sleep. This is all regulated by the circadian rhythm.
Unfortunately, when you spend a lot of time inside, you aren’t actually getting the sunlight needed for this process to work.
As a result, your sleep schedule will be negatively affected, with you getting tired at the wrong time (or not getting tired at all and suffering from insomnia).
If you’ve found that you have this problem, now you have a reason why you should go out.
Start your day by going for a walk around the block, get some fresh air, and have the sunlight pouring in through your windows when you have to be inside.
Hopefully, this will help you with your sleep issues. If you continue to have them, you should combine going outdoors more with medication or treatments your doctor suggests.
Mental Health Issues Related to a Lack of Sunlight
If you’ve been feeling depressed lately, this could be because of a lack of sunlight from not going outdoors. Because the sun has the combined effect of improving mood, synthesizing vitamin D, and helping our internal clock, it’s essential for good mental health.
Of course, there are many other reasons you might be feeling depressed, whether it’s the stage you’re at in your life or clinical depression.
For this reason, it helps to combine going outdoors more with whatever your therapist or doctor recommends.
When you’re less social and more sedentary, there’s an undeniable impact on your moods. If your serotonin is low, this makes you feel low, too. For your body to produce more of it, you need exposure to sunlight. So you won’t have much serotonin if you’re inside all the time.
To up your serotonin levels and your mood, step outside. Depending on how your brain produces serotonin, you might also have to practice yoga, see a therapist, or take medication to help boost it.
Another issue caused by being outside less is a change in your appetite. This is because the aforementioned circadian rhythm has an impact on your appetite. If it’s not regulated properly with the right amount of sun, your body will be confused about when it’s hungry.
This is only one of the ways in which staying inside too long has a negative effect on your appetite.
Additionally, when you’re inside for long hours, you’re often sedentary, staying in bed or sitting on the couch too long watching TV or spending time on your laptop.
This type of behavior can impact your appetite in two ways: you might lose your appetite or feel much hungrier than you usually would. You might find that you’re skipping meals or overindulging in junk food.
Whatever you end up doing, having an appetite such as these will eventually have negative consequences on your health. You could end up gaining weight or losing too much of it without gaining any muscle.
To deal with these problems, there are several things you need to do. First of all, change your eating schedule and diet so that you’re eating the right foods at the right times.
Then, remember to fight off the sedentary lifestyle by standing at your desk when you’re working or getting up to stretch.
Additionally, go outside much more often for exercise. This will reset your circadian rhythm and help you have your appetite back at the right time.
It will also be beneficial if you want to lose some of the weight you’ve put on from being inside too much.
The final negative mental health effect you can experience when not going outside is anxiety. If you start to feel like you’ve been cooped up for too long, you might feel restless or anxious. When this happens, you might feel more upset or irritable.
There are also issues with social anxiety. If you spend a lot of time indoors, only watching TV or on your device, you’ll start withdrawing from your family and friends.
This can make you feel isolated, which can in turn make you feel like there is no one to connect with. You might even start not wanting to leave the house and forgetting about how to take care of yourself properly.
To escape this negative anxiety cycle, it can help to go outside. By being out in the sun, you can wake up your body again. By exercising outside, you can start pumping out more endorphins, which will lift your mood.
Additionally, if you join friends outside, you’ll feel more connected to other people around you, alleviating the symptoms of social anxiety.
Remember that with mental health issues like anxiety, you should also speak with your doctor to talk about any underlying causes or whether there’s additional medication or therapy you should be using.
Negative Effects of Staying Indoors on Your Physical Health
In addition to being bad for your mental health, staying indoors can also be detrimental to your physical health. Issues you may experience include poor posture, lowered vitamin D levels, weakened immune system, and weight problems.
When you’re spending a lot of time indoors, you’re usually sitting down in one place for an extended period of time. Unless you’re constantly doing HIIT workouts or yoga, this can have a very negative impact on your posture.
How does this happen? When you’re sitting still in one place, you’re putting a large amount of pressure on your spine, neck, and back muscles.
Of course, if you have an ergonomic chair that provides back support, this can help. But it still isn’t enough.
To keep your posture from suffering too much, remember to get up from your chair regularly when you’re at work. If possible, it can also help to use a standing desk.
But most importantly, get outside as often as you can. This will guarantee that you aren’t sitting around.
Instead, you’ll be going out for walks or exercising. You’ll also feel energized, which will keep you from slouching when you return home.
Lowered Vitamin D Levels
One of the biggest problems with staying indoors is that you aren’t getting the vitamin D you need from the sun to be healthy. Vitamin D is important for keeping your bones healthy, so if you’re older, it’s especially important that you spend some time outside.
Additionally, having low vitamin D can make it more likely that you would develop diseases such as diabetes or develop high blood pressure.
Even if it’s only for an hour a day, going outside a bit more to get a natural dose of vitamin D will have profoundly positive impacts on your physical health.
Weakened Immune System
Another issue caused by staying inside too long is a weakened immune system. This is because of the aforementioned issue with vitamin D. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, your immune system will end up being weaker.
As a result, you’ll end up getting sicker more often. This will also keep you inside, which can end up causing some of the additional problems we’ve listed in this article.
To protect yourself from this, start going outside more often. In addition to having an improved immune system, you’ll also have reduced inflammation levels, an added bonus of being out in the sun.
If you stay inside too long, you’ll end up having weight problems. This is for several reasons. First of all, if you’re feeling sluggish and like you have low energy (or even depression) from being inside too long, the last thing you’ll want to do is exercise.
Additionally, you’re more likely to graze or snack when you’re indoors.
If you spend more time outside, then the times you eat will be more likely to be planned meals.
Eyestrain (and Related Issues)
When people spend a lot of time indoors, they inevitably spend hours in front of a television, their work computer, or a device such as a cell phone or a tablet. If you do any of these things for hours at a time, you’ll end up with eyestrain.
There’s the additional issue too of not having great mental health if you spend too much time on electric devices.
Whether you have a Facebook addiction or spend too much doomscrolling to catch up on negative news out there, you can end up feeling depressed or alone. It’s best to get outside and catch up with the great outdoors instead.
Meditation can help, too. Both your mental and physical health will end up thanking you.
Need More Information?
Now that you know about all the negative effects of staying indoors, you might need some additional information. Maybe you want to learn about tips you can follow to make sure you get time outside even if you have a busy indoor work schedule.
Or maybe you want to learn about fun, healthy outdoor activities you can do with the whole family.
Whatever information you need, we can help. At Pricepro Pharmacy, we’re experts when it comes to your health. We also offer the best medications you need. To learn more about how we can help, contact us now.