If you’re sad that your office desk isn’t near a window, there’s a good reason for that. A study published in The Journal Of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that workers with a window in their office had a much better sense of health. The study seems a little unnecessary to me, as I freelanced out of a former utility closet for two years; they could’ve just inquired about my mental health condition and saved some time.
The study was authored by Dr. Phyllis Zee and doctoral candidate Ivy Cheung from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. They examined 27 people who worked day shifts in windowless offices, and 22 who worked near windows. Those who were exposed to natural light exercised more, and were better rested. The workers with windows got 46 more minutes of sleep a night than the windowless workers, who had more sleep disturbances. It’s interesting that seeing more light leads to less sleep, although if it’s giving people more energy during the day, it makes sense that they’re more tired at night.
Another study by Cornell University compared the performance of nurses who worked in environments with either natural or artificial light. As you’d now expect, those with access to natural light communicated better with their colleagues, laughed more, were nicer to patients, had improved alertness, and even had significantly lower blood pressure than nurses who worked with artificial light. Patients heal faster when they see trees, nurses work better when they see sun, maybe we should just have outdoor hospitals! Someone get to work on that.
Yet another study published in the Environmental Health Journal found an association between decreased exposure to sunlight and increased probability of cognitive impairment. It’s intuitive that we perform better under exposure to sunlight, since it is after all the source of all life, and gives our bodies essential vitamin D. Henceforth, I decree that all new hospitals, doctors’ office, offices, and walled architecture in general, be built to allow maximum sunlight exposure. And might I suggest oculus windows for a more aesthetic, ancient method of indoor sunbathing?