He's the healthiest one in the office. Lighten up! If your workspace has a window, your health could benefit, according to new research from North...
Lighten up! If your workspace has a window, your health could benefit, according to new research from Northwestern University.
Among 49 office workers, those who sat close to a window slept an average of 46 minutes more per night, were four times as physically active, and reported a 35 percent boost in daytime energy compared to their daylight-deprived counterparts
Why? Office employees with windows enjoy 173 percent more daylight exposure than windowless workers, says study coauthor Ivy N. Cheung, who researches neuroscience at Northwestern. Why that matters: Sun-strength light (or “white light”) impacts the genes that control your circadian rhythm—the internal clock that determines when you feel sleepy and awake, Cheung explains. If you don’t get enough white light in the a.m., your circadian clock falls out of whack, and you wind up groggy during the day.
There’s no solid research outlining how much sun exposure makes you feel your best, but timing is important, says Cheung. If you don’t have an office window, spend 15 minutes outdoors in the morning—it’ll help normalize sleep hormones like melatonin, Cheung says.
Can’t take a break to be outside? Consider a light box, suggests Namni Goel, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania’s Division of Sleep and Chronobiology. They simulate outdoor-strength daylight and help regulate your body’s internal clock. The Center for Environmental Therapeutics offers a research-backed option (CET.org; $160), which Goel recommends. Just make sure you turn it off later in the day to mimic the fading sun outdoors, she advises. Don’t want to cough up that much cash? Insurance could cover the purchase if you suffer from depression, sleep disorders, and some other medical conditions, so discuss it with your doc.
If you liked this story, you’ll love these: