During my time in the corporate world, I was always one of those people who jockeyed for a cubicle by the windows. I just couldn’t function without natural light. And fluorescents don’t count as natural light (back then they were about as close to opposite as you could get). I would make it a point to turn off the fluorescents and soak up as much daylight from outside as I could during my workday.
Even in my home office, I find myself with the same propensity. NEED WINDOW to function. From my own experience, I knew that I could be more productive and my brain felt clearer when I was bathed in natural light. Turns out I intuitively knew what neuroscientists are now discovering.
“Researchers at the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago, reported…that there is a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers’ sleep, activity and quality of life… Exposure to light turns the genes that control an organism’s internal clocks ‘on’ and ‘off.'”
Circadian rhythms, the body’s biological rhythms that respond directly to light and darkness, are altered when the amount of light exposure changes. Hmmm…that sounds like a pretty big deal, when you consider that the circadian rhythm is in charge of “sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, body temperature and other important bodily functions. Disruptions [in circadian rhythm have been] directly linked to sleep [problems], obesity, diabetes, depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).”
If you don’t have a window in your office, make it a point to take a short break each day and go outside. When the brain is exposed to regular daylight, the body will feel better, the brain will function more efficiently, and your productivity will increase. Working in natural light is second nature to some and common sense to others, and it turns out it benefits your health in more ways than any of us could have imagined.