This weird thing in your office could be the reason you aren’t sleeping well

Your office lighting matters when it comes to productivity and decision-making.

Researchers from the University of Illinois found that offices that pump natural daylight, rather than artificial light, can enhance decision making at the office while improving workers’ sleeping by getting them an additional 37 minutes more of sleep each night.

The study, which appears in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, set out to explore the impact of optimized daylight and how it affects sleep and cognitive performance of office workers. Researchers had 30 participants spend one week working in two office environments with similar layouts including identical furnishings and orientations.

One office had normal blinds that blocked sunlight coming through office windows. The second office used electrochromic glass, which allows more natural sunlight to pass through without much glare. In addition to spending a week in each office, participants’ sleep was measured through a wrist actigraph that recorded sleep patterns, according to the study.

Following the experiment, researchers said that both groups of workers slept longer during the week where they worked in the office with more natural light for an average of 37 minutes. In addition, the sunlight also had a positive boost when it came to cognitive tests. Participants had scored 42% higher in decision-making by the end of the week in the office with better natural lighting.

“Both sleep and cognitive function were impacted after one day in the space, yet the impacts became more significant over the course of the week,” researchers said.

“The positive effect of optimized daylight and views on cognitive function was comparable for almost all participants, while increases in sleep duration were significantly greater for those with the lowest baseline sleep duration. This study stresses the significance of designing with daylight in order to optimize the sleep quality and performance of office workers.”