Modern day offices with centrally air conditioned rooms and air tight windows could be seriously harming your health.
Office workers with more light exposure at the office have been found to have longer sleep duration, better sleep quality, more physical activity and better quality of life compared to office workers with less light exposure in the workplace.
Employees with windows in the workplace received 173% 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 in the workplace.
There also was a trend for workers in offices with windows to have more physical activity than those without windows.
Scientists from Northwestern Medicine and the University of Illinois have highlighted the importance of exposure to natural light to employee health and the priority architectural designs of office environments should place on natural daylight exposure for workers.
“Light is the most important synchronizing agent for the brain and body,” said Ivy Cheung from Northwestern. “Proper synchronization of your internal biological rhythms with the earth’s daily rotation has been shown to be essential for health.”
Workers without windows reported poorer scores than their counterparts 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.
“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,” said senior study author Phyllis Zee, a Northwestern Medicine neurologist and sleep specialist.
The study group included 49 day-shift office workers; 27 in windowless workplaces and 22 in workplaces with windows.