Beyond such characteristics as air temperature, which people have long been able to control for themselves, there are other less often noticed but no less important indicators of air quality such as carbon dioxide levels and humidity.
If you are waking up feeling tired already, then it is possible that your body has been subjected to carbon dioxide poisoning – and poisoning is precisely the correct term. Just like any other kind of poisoning, carbon dioxide poising is harmful to our health. It makes us sluggish and unable to carry out productive, thoughtful work. If you wake up and you’re already tired, how can you expect to feel at the office all day?
The level of carbon dioxide in the air we breathe can be one of the most dangerous symptoms of poor air quality, since we cannot perceive its concentration, even though excessive amounts of CO2 can poison our bodies. The composition of carbon dioxide is typically measured in ppm (parts per million), the ideal level of which should be at or below 700ppm. Towards the end of the 80’s the average carbon dioxide level in the air was 350ppm, today that level is closer to 400ppm. In larger cities this amount is slightly higher.
Once CO2 levels reach 1000ppm, the air becomes stuffy, one can no longer concentrate, and exhaustion sets in. If your child cannot work effectively on their homework, don’t rush to hire a tutor – it’s possible that opening up the windows may be enough.
One person in a 20 square meter room with poor ventilation increases the concentration of carbon dioxide by about 500ppm an hour. Inasmuch as these changes occur very slowly, however, one gets accustomed to higher levels of CO2 and it is easy not to notice as CO2 poisoning sets in.
Office buildings in particular require good ventilation, and for homes a periodic airing out can suffice.
Humidity is determined by the amount of moisture in the air, expressed as a percentage.
Dry air dehydrates the body, dries out skin, causes fatigue and leads to a loss of concentration. At temperatures above 25C and high humidity your body may overheat, as less water is able to evaporate from the skin. Many people feel pain on rainy days – moisture in the air weakens our bodies’ resistance to cold and infections, as well as to rheumatism, tuberculosis, and kidney ailments.
A comfortable level of humidity inside of apartments at average temperatures (16 – 20 degrees) can vary from 40 to 60%. At temperatures higher than 20 degrees Celsius or lower than 15 degrees Celsius, or while doing physical labor, humidity should not attain a level greater than 30-40%.
In order to determine whether to humidify or dehumidify a room, it is necessary to have the proper measuring devices, namely, a hygrometer.
In everyday situations we use many different kinds of lights, but regardless of the way they look, all bulbs have the same basic characteristics that deserve our attention. Our eyes can get tired and mood can be spoiled by a lack of proper lighting.
Insufficient lighting – Weak lighting strains our eyes, tiring them out and worsening our vision. It’s no wonder that art galleries are so well lit – you can look at tiny details without any problems for your eyes. Lighting can be measured with a luxometer.
Flickering lights – This “winking” of lights may not be especially noticeable, but it can have a big effect on your health. Our brains work to smooth over incoming stimuli, which is why we may not consciously notice lights flickering, but our eyes certainly do. (In some big box stores, however, they can be so tightfisted and eager to save on lights that flickering lights are noticeable). Constant flickering lights can make us irritable, tire us out, or even impair our vision. (Maybe that’s why after a long shopping run in such big stores we find ourselves leaving in such a bad mood).
Unnatural lighting– This is when light looks unnatural, which can be bad for the eyes. As a rule, the color rendering index (CRI) of a given light bulb should be written on the packaging. Any number above 80 is normal – if the CRI is lower, the light will look unnatural. The higher the better.
Improper color temperature– Color temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale and should be somewhere between 800 and 27000K. The lower the number, the warmer the temperature, and the higher the number, the cooler the temperature. The color temperature of the sun’s light at noon is usually somewhere around6500K. While working, the ideal color temperature should be somewhere between 5000-6500K, and while taking a breather color temperatures from 2700-3500K are best.
Take care to avoid having to squint or strain your eyes – to do so you may have to adjust the lighting based on the given circumstances – but saving your eyes is well worth the effort.
We are constantly surrounded by various noises. The sounds of our natural environment, such as the rustling of leaves, birds chirping, and the pitter-patter of rain all have a positive effect on our well-being. Such noises as the pounding of jackhammers, the roar of highways, and the buzzing of our computers, however, disrupt our peace and quiet, irritating us and spoiling our health.
Noise places a significant amount of strain on our nervous system, which also has its psychological impacts. It is capable of increasing the amount of such stress hormones as cortisol and adrenaline in our bloodstream, which, the longer they circulate throughout the body, the more likely they will lead to physiological issues.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) standards, the circulatory system of a person may suffer if they are subjected to noise levels of 50 dB or greater throughout the night. This is equal to about the same level of noise issued from a side street with light traffic. A mere 45 dB can disturb one’s sleep, and even 35 dB (the sound of a whisper) can be considered “irritating.” For these reasons, it is important to reduce all noise as much as possible while sleeping.