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Light Touch: The importance of light on development and wellbeing in teens with Dr Shelley James

There’s a universal truth that teens lock themselves away in their darkened bedrooms; headphones on, and within an arm’s distance of a screen – whether that’s a phone, laptop or a video game. This isn’t a new phenomenon. Even with a pre-disposition to languish in their caves; lockdown has curbed what little outside interactions our young people may have had. But should we be concerned about our children being cooped up, or should we lay off encouraging them to “get more fresh air”?

This week we’re looking at light and the role that it plays in our teens’ wellbeing. 

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Nathan McGurl, founder of The Study Buddy, is joined by Dr Shelley James. Shelley is an experienced Arts professional with an international career that combines consultancy and teaching with scientific and creative research. Shelley is leading the charge on highlighting the importance of “light” amongst teens with a number of freely available online workshops and a number of hugely popular Tik Tok videos.

This week, it wasn’t so much the conversation with the teens that piqued Nathan’s interest as much as something that happened around it. Lee was a little late because his mum had “forced him out of the house to go on a walk and get some fresh air”. He didn’t seem particularly enamoured with the idea and didn’t get why it would be important. He’d have sooner been in bed!

Shelley talks about the impact that natural light has on teens physically, as well as their wellbeing and brain development. We talk about the differences in the teen body clock and the importance of a good routine too.


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