Windowless workers are losing sleep

More fodder for those who believe that exposure to the wrong kind of light undermines sleep: Employees who work in windowless areas rest poorly at night compared to their colleagues with a view.

A small study led by the University of Illinois found that workers not exposed to natural light – for instance, those who toil in the middle of a big open plan space – reported sleeping 46 minutes less a night than cohorts with a window and exposure to natural light, according to Fast Company, which added: 

'The study found that 27 workers who sat in windowless offices (or so far from a window as to get no natural light) scored worse than 22 workers who did get daylight...The windowless group fared significantly worse on two particular areas, including "vitality." Workers without daylight exposure also showed worse overall sleep quality on a well-established self-report sleep index.'

The study found that the windowless ones slept worse on the weekends when they also tended to get less exposure to natural light. Team leader Mohammed Boubriki speculated that the weekday pattern generally energises natural light workers  more than the mole types. 

Hmmm, aren't there some stock dealers who bury themselves inside cavernous trading rooms all week and still ricochet off walls with unbridled energy at the weekend? Maybe they get their vigor from something other than light.

Nevertheless, the study, like others before it, suggests once again that light in the wrong doses or frequencies can disturb circadian rhythms and upset natural sleep patterns.


Photo: Head to the right for a good night's sleep. Image is from Larsinio via Wikimedia.

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