Natural Light in the Office May Benefit Health…

10 Nov

Many people are practically scared to death of sun exposure because of the risk of skin cancer. Some “experts” even recommend wearing protective clothing or sunscreen whenever you may be exposed to sunlight. However, this may not be the best advice because sunlight is essential to our health. Sunlight is how we humans produce vitamin D, and studies suggest it has other beneficial effects as well.
Now, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (June 2014) shows that even getting natural sunlight through a window can be beneficial. The study conducted by a team of scientists from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign reports that office workers with more light exposure at the office had longer sleep duration, better sleep quality, more physical activity, and a better quality of life compared with office workers with less sun light exposure in their workplace.
According to the lead author of the study Dr. Phyllis Zee, “There is increasing evidence that exposure to light during the day, particularly in the morning, is beneficial to your health via its effects on mood, alertness, and metabolism.” Employees with windows in the workplace received 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night than employees who did not have the natural light exposure at their workstations.
Workers in offices with windows also tended to be more physically active than those without window in their offices. Workers without windows reported poorer scores on quality of life measures related to physical problems and vitality, as well as poorer outcomes on measures of overall sleep quality and sleep disturbances. The researchers emphasize the importance of architects using this information in the planning of new buildings. They add that workstations should be within 20-25 feet (~6-8 meters) of windows, because daylight from side windows almost vanishes after that distance.

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