We already know a good night’s sleep has a lot to do with your circadian rhythm. To get that rhythm on track, experts say it helps to expose yourself to plenty of light during the day.
Picture: Wolfgang Lonien/Flickr
Just like blue light is bad for your nighttime sleep schedule, light during the day can actually help you sleep better at night. Harvard Health Publications explicitly suggests exposing yourself to bright light during the day, as this will “boost your ability to sleep at night”.
A number of studies on circadian rhythm support this. In one study, researchers compared the sleep quality of 27 people who worked in windowless environments with 22 workers exposed to significantly more daylight. They reported:
Workers in windowless environments reported poorer scores than their counterparts on two SF-36 dimensions — role limitation due to physical problems and vitality — as well as poorer overall sleep quality from the global PSQI [Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index] score and the sleep disturbances component of the PSQI. Compared to the group without windows, workers with windows at the workplace had more light exposure during the workweek, a trend toward more physical activity, and longer sleep duration as measured by actigraphy.
It was enough for them to conclude that office environments should have more exposure to daylight so workers can get better sleep. It’s just one small study, but experts seem to agree: sunlight affects your circadian rhythm, and that has a lot to do with your sleep quality.
To improve your sleep, consider regular outdoor breaks during the day, especially if your office lacks natural light. For more detail, check out the full study below.
Impact of Windows and Daylight Exposure on Overall Health and Sleep Quality of Office Workers: A Case-Control Pilot Study [Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine via Forbes]