Health is boosted by natural light in the office

Harold Mandel's picture
A naturally lighted office
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Overall health of office workers has been found to be improved with natural light exposure in the office. Workers in windowless environments are not as healthy as workers who enjoy natural light.

Researchers investigated the impact which daylight exposure has on the health of office workers as seen from the perspective of subjective well-being and sleep quality reported the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Workers in windowless environments were observed not to be as healthy as workers exposed to daylight while in the office.

Design of office environments should place more emphasis on adequate daylight exposure

The workers who had windows at the workplace had more exposure to light during the workweek and a trend towards more physical activity and longer sleep duration. The researchers have suggested that the architectural design of office environments should place more emphasis on adequate daylight exposure for the workers with an interest in promoting their health and well-being.

Workers with more light exposure at the office displayed healthier characteristics

Daylight exposure in the office environment improves sleep, physical activity, and quality of life reports Northwestern University. It has been reported in a new study from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign that office workers with more light exposure at the office displayed healthier characteristics than office workers with less light exposure in the workplace including:

1: Longer sleep duration

2: Better sleep quality

3: More physical activity

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4: Better quality of life

The research authors have said this study highlights the significance of exposure to natural light for employee health. The study also helps to highlight the priority architectural designs of office environments should put on natural daylight exposure for workers.

There was 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours for employees who had windows in the workplace. These employees also slept an average of 46 minutes more per night than the employees who did not have the natural light exposure at their workplace. Workers in offices with windows also generally had more physical activity than those workers without windows.

Workers without windows in their offices reported poorer scores on quality of life measurements

The workers who did not have windows in their offices reported poorer scores than their counterparts on quality of life measurements associated to physical problems and vitality. They also reported poorer outcomes on measures of their overall quality of sleep and sleep disturbances.

Light during the natural daylight hours has very powerful effects on health

Senior study author Phyllis Zee, M.D., a Northwestern Medicine neurologist and sleep specialist, has said there has been increasing evidence that exposure to light during the day, particularly in the morning, has beneficial effects on your health. This is seen primarily via positive effects on mood, alertness and metabolism. It has been confirmed by this study that light during the natural daylight hours has very powerful effects on health.

Light is the most vital synchronizing agent for the brain and body

Ivy Cheung, co-lead author and Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience in Zee’s lab at Northwestern, says light is the most vital synchronizing agent for the brain and body. It has been shown that proper synchronization of your internal biological rhythms with the earth's daily rotation is essential for health. Furthermore, people who are exposed to more light during the day may sleep better at night, which also has the potential to improve health.

It's really exciting to see that something as simple as natural light has the capacity to improve health. People who are really interested in good health and increased productivity at work should be very careful about drinking too many energy drinks, too much coffee, and using cocaine and other stimulants, They should instead try to expose themselves to more natural light during the day. Daily exercise, meditation, green tea, and ginseng may also help workers rejuvenate themselves in naturally healthy manners.

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