A team of Amer­i­can sci­en­tists from the cities of Cham­paign, Boston, Mil­li­tas and Syra­cuse claims that peo­ple who work in offices with more day­light access sleep longer at night and show high­er intel­li­gence than office work­ers with poor nat­ur­al light.

Sun­light acti­vates a pig­ment in the reti­na — melanopsin, which is involved in the reg­u­la­tion of the pineal gland in the brain — the pineal gland. And the lat­ter pro­duces mela­tonin, a hor­mone that reg­u­lates human cir­ca­di­an rhythms. It affects the qual­i­ty of sleep, the time of falling asleep and wak­ing up. There is a para­me­ter that links the amount of day­light and the melanopsin response — melanopic lux (EML): the more light (EML units), the less mela­tonin.

In the study, 30 adult office work­ers worked in two dif­fer­ent offices for one week. Both offices had exact­ly the same lay­out, fur­nish­ings and ori­en­ta­tion to the car­di­nal points, but in one case it had a win­dow with elec­trochromic glass, which changes its opti­cal prop­er­ties depend­ing on the lev­el of illu­mi­na­tion, and in the oth­er the win­dow was cov­ered with blinds, hid­ing most of the light flux . Accord­ing­ly, the light­ing in the room with elec­trochromic glass cor­re­spond­ed to 40.6 EML, and in the room with blinds — 316 EML.

It turned out that the sub­jects who worked in a room with elec­trochromic glass and received a lot of day­light slept 37 min­utes longer and were 42% bet­ter on tests of cog­ni­tive func­tion, which test­ed their abil­i­ty to make mean­ing­ful deci­sions for work. When the employ­ees par­tic­i­pat­ing in the exper­i­ment changed places, their indi­ca­tors also changed. These changes were vis­i­ble even after one day of work in an office with opti­mized day­light access or in an office with blinds. But a par­tic­u­lar­ly pro­nounced dif­fer­ence was observed after a few days.

The researchers high­light the impor­tance of design­ing offices for day­light work­spaces. In their opin­ion, a suf­fi­cient amount of day­light will ben­e­fit both office work­ers and their man­age­ment.


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