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Natural light in office boosts health
Date:8/8/2014

morial Hospital.

"Architects need to be aware of the importance of natural light not only in terms of their potential energy savings but also in terms of affecting occupants' health," said co-lead author Mohamed Boubekri, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

A simple design solution to augment daylight penetration in office buildings would be to make sure the workstations are within 20 to 25 feet of the peripheral walls containing the windows, noted Boubekri. "Daylight from side windows almost vanishes after 20 to 25 feet from the windows," he said.

The study group included 49 day-shift office workers; 27 in windowless workplaces and 22 in workplaces with windows. Health-related quality of life and sleep quality were measured with a self-reported form and sleep quality was evaluated with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI). Light exposure, activity and sleep were measured by actigraphy in a representative subset of 21 participants; 10 in windowless workplaces and 11 in workplaces with windows.

Actigraphy is a single device worn on the wrist that gives measures of light exposure as well as activity and sleep. This is an ambulatory physiological data logger that records motion and light illuminance. The motion was used to determine activity levels during waking time and to calculate sleep time. The light luminance was used for measures of light exposure during the workday period.

"Light is the most important synchronizing agent for the brain and body," said Ivy Cheung, co-lead author and Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience in Zee's lab at Northwestern. "Proper synchronization of your internal biological rhythms with the earth's daily rotation has been shown to be essential for health."

Also, people who get more light during the day may sleep better at night, which can also help improve health, Zee noted.

Other authors include Kathryn Reid from North
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Contact: marla Paul
marla-paul@northwestern.edu
312-503-8928
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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