Are You Saving Enough Daylight?

The nation has fallen back again. Well, we did turn our clocks back again, and for many of us this means we’ll have less sunlight falling on our faces each day.

We’re going to miss that sunlight, since it plays a big role in regulating our circadian rhythms – which in turn regulate our sleep.

Velux Skylights recently commissioned a survey by YouGov of 16,000 people worldwide, which revealed that 60 percent of Americans believe daylight affects their productivity.

Fifty-five percent think exposure to daylight affects their sleep.

Numerous studies have proven the role of daylight in promoting a good night’s sleep while highlighting the negative impacts a lack of daylight has on health.

As the days become shorter during the switch to Standard Time and colder, the importance of getting enough daylight is even more acute. A review published by the National Research Council Canada suggested that inadequate exposure to daylight could be detrimental to our wellbeing.

Our body clocks are informed by the different levels of daylight in a 24-hour period, we need plenty of light during the day and darkness at night to ensure a good night’s sleep.

Some of the consequences caused by poor sleep include depression, diabetes, heart disease and weight gain. Other side effects linked to poor sleep include higher risk of work accidents, reduced concentration and low mood and difficulties in making decisions.

Daylight can also help enhance productivity

As many as 63 percent of people polled globally in the YouGov survey said that daylight influences their productivity. The link between daylight and office productivity has also been widely investigated and various studies show that daylight and a view to the outside increase performance at work.

Workers in a call center were processing calls 6 percent to 12 percent faster when they had the best possible view versus those with no view.

Other office workers, meanwhile, were found to perform 10 percent to 25 percent better on tests of mental function and memory recall when they had the best possible view versus those with no view.

“One relevant question to raise, with these findings in mind and the fact that personnel costs typically account for 90 percent of a business’ operating costs: Do the offices and schools offer the right thinking-environment that boosts the performance of employees and children’s learning?” Foldbjerg said.

Top tips for improving your sleep

  • Increased exposure to daylight will help you sleep at night – sitting near a window at work or school and trying to get outside more will also help with this.
  • Eliminate light from the outside to enter your bedroom at night.
  • Sleep in a cooler bedroom.
  • Avoid looking at electronic devices (TVs, smartphones / tablets) which distribute blue light before going to sleep – this can trick the brain into staying alert at the wrong time of day.
  • Establish a good bed time routine – read a book instead of having more screen time.
  • Give children a red or orange night light if they are afraid of the dark as these are the least disruptive to sleep.

If having a skylight in your home might help, Velux offers a bunch of them: velux.com. Otherwise, just try to get out more.

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