Headaches, sleepiness, low attention spans and a general sense of feeling unwell are just some of the side effects of spending too long indoors. You thought it was just your job, right?

Well, scientists say it’s all about ions. See our video to learn more

Ions are charged particles in the air; some are charged negatively, and some are charged positively. Negative ions are oxygen ions with an extra electron attached, produced through water molecules; which is why they are in such beautifully abundant supply near fresh, flowing water supplies such as rivers, streams, seas and waterfalls.

But negative ions, in plentiful supply in natural settings, are dangerously low in the average air-conditioned office, over-heated home or stuffy car. The air around waterfalls, for example, can contain anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 negative ions per cubic centimetre. Compare this number to a stuffy car or office, which can contain zero to, at most, a few hundred per cubic centimetre. The lack of water molecules attached is often why you’ll notice you get dry skin and extra thirsty in a stuffy office or a city environment.

Negative ions are odourless, tasteless, and invisible molecules that we inhale in abundance in certain environments. Once they reach our bloodstream, negative ions are believed to produce biochemical reactions that increase levels of the mood chemical serotonin, helping to alleviate depression, relieve stress, and boost our daytime energy.

(This article is edited from a longer piece which appeared on bodyandsoul.com.au)

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