Office Lighting & Sleep
Is your work environment ruining your sleep?
Got your sights set on snagging the corner office, the one with the big picture windows? Step into this office and you can almost hear the angels signing, “Welcome to the big leagues, you’ve arrived!” Turns out, that coveted corner office might also be the healthiest spot in your office, when it comes to your sleep at least.
Did you know how much natural light you’re exposed to regulate your natural sleep/wake cycle – circadian rhythm – and can affect your appetite, mood, productivity and health?
Trouble is, most office lighting plays havoc with our inner sleep clocks, waking us when we should be tired and exhausting us when we should be at our wakeful peak.
We’ve all felt the brightly lit darkness of a minimally windowed, fluorescent-flooded workspace and now research shows why artificial light looks (and feels) so damn hideous, according to FastCompany.com. People with a diet of natural daylight are more alert during the evening while those who can’t get enough sunshine in their lives are sleepier. Even short-term afternoon lighting conditions have an impact on evening task performance, which sheds some light on the 4 p.m. slump—we’re not getting enough sun.
The problem with lightbulbs and what you can do about it
Humans have been walking the earth for thousands of years but we’ve only been exposed to artificial light for the last hundred or so. When we’re exposed to bright light during the evening – or for shift workers, overnight – our circadian rhythm is disrupted, which triggers a domino effect on our hormones. The later we work, the more electronic devices we’re exposed to – it all adds up to a dangerously unhealthy and sleep-deprived society.
So how can you protect your sleep? Kicking your boss out of his office because it’s destroying your sleep might not be your best career option. But these tips might help you be more productive during the day and sleep better at night. And keep your career intact. You’re welcome.
- Rise with the roosters – Waking with the sun will help you naturally readjust your sleep patterns. What’s more, getting up earlier will help you get to bed earlier at night.
- Soak up the sun – The simplest sleep fix is to get outside more – even a few minutes more. Park your car further away from your office door, take a walk before work, at lunch or at quitting time. If you’ve got kids, grab them for a game of catch before dinner and you’ll all feel better.
- Sit near a window – If you work from home or your work station is mobile, sit closer to the sunshine. If a sunny window isn’t an option, dim your lights at night to counteract the brightness during the day.
- Make the most of the weekends – If you’re sun-deprived during the week, binge on it during your time away from work. Fresh air combined with sunlight will do wonders for your mood and sleep.
- Limit electronics – Put a curfew on your electronics and power down an hour before you intend to sleep. If you read on your kindle or iPad to fall asleep, set the brightness to the lowest possible setting to reduce your exposure to blue light.