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Study: Employees Benefit From Natural Light During Workday

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General view of an empty office. (credit: Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

General view of an empty office. (credit: Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

CBS St. Louis (con't)

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EVANSTON, Ill. (CBS St. Louis) – Natural light during the workday benefits employees, a new study finds.

“There is increasing evidence that exposure to light, during the day – particularly in the morning – is beneficial to your health via its effects on mood, alertness, and metabolism,” Dr. Phyllis Zee, professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern Hospital, and the study’s senior author, said in a press release put out by the university obtained by HealthDay. “Workers are a group at risk because they are typically indoors often without access to natural or even artificial bright light for the entire day. They study results confirm that light during the natural daylight hours has powerful effects on health.”

Researchers analyzed data obtained from 49 day-shift workers.  Of those 49, 22 were from workplaces with windows while 27 were without windows.

The study found that the workers who were exposed to daylight slept longer and better at night, got more exercise, and had a better quality of life than those workers who did not have access to daylight.

The study linked association and therefore did not prove cause-and-effect.

“Light is the most important synchronizing agent for the brain and body,” Ivy Cheung, a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience in Zee’s lab, and co-author on this study, said in a press release. “Proper synchronization of your internal biological rhythms with the Earth’s daily rotation has been shown to be essential for health.”

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

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