There are plenty of reasons you may not be getting a good night's rest: you're sleeping with your phone, you're a bedtime procrastinator or your bedmate snores or hogs the covers. But maybe it's because your daytime workspace is just too dark.
Researchers found a measurable difference in the length nighttime sleep between two sets of office workers: one seated near windows and the other seated far from windows or in windowless rooms. Subjects wore a device on their wrists that measured both daytime light exposure and sleep activity. The lucky workers near the windows were exposed to 173% more light during the workday and slept about 46 more minutes each night than their window-poor counterparts.
The study co-author called light "the most important synchronizing agent for the brain and body" and stressed the health benefits of daytime light exposure. So, if you have a home office, try to situate it near a window. If you can't, at least eat your lunch or take some calls near a window and take a walk in the sun if you can.
If your out-of-home office setting is too dark, try to get your co-workers on board to rearrange the office, change the shades or invest in some full-spectrum artificial light.
- Impact of windows and daylight exposure on overall health and sleep quality of office workers: a case-control pilot study. Ivy Cheung et al. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. June 2014 (must be a subscriber to read the full article).
- A good summary: You're Losing Sleep Just by Working in a Windowless Cubicle by Belinda Lanks on Bloomberg Business News.