A new study conducted by a team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in the US has found that office workers sleep more hours each night when exposed to more sunlight during the day.
The paper published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health describes the findings and the experiments the researchers conducted in real office buildings.
The researchers selected two adjacent offices in an office building in Durham, North Carolina to study the connection between sunlight and sleep. The experiments involved testing the differences in sleep patterns for people working in nearly identical office environments, with the only difference being the amount of lighting they have been exposed to during their shifts.
One of the offices had the traditional blinds that stop much of the sunlight coming through the large glass windows. In the other office, the windows were treated with electrochromic glazing technology that minimizes glare while allowing more sunlight to pass through.
The researchers asked the office workers to work in both offices for one week each. They worked in one office for one week and traded offices for the next week. All of the workers were fitted with a wrist actigraph to measure and record how long the wearer was asleep each night.
The researchers found that both groups of workers slept longer when they worked in the office with more natural lighting. On average, they slept 37 minutes longer.
The researchers also found the sunlight to have a positive effect on the cognitive tests of the workers, which only grew more and more with each passing day. As per the study, the workers scored as high as 42 per cent on cognitive tests by the end of the week.
Based on their research, the team suggests that lighting should feature more prominently in workplaces as it will not only benefit the workers but also those who employ them.
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