Better designed offices could boost both physical and mental health of workers.
An early night after a hot bath, curling up with a good book is most people’s idea of preparing for a good night’s sleep. Well, according to a recent study, there is a lot more to it. Apparently, where you sit at work is key to getting a successful night’s sleep. Research shows that office workers who sit near a window have up to 46 minutes more sleep a night than those with little exposure to daylight. It is also suggested they have a less broken sleep, better quality of life and tend to exercise more than employees with less exposure.
The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, suggests the working environment may be crucial to setting the body clock. Researchers say better designed offices could boost both physical and mental health of workers.
One in three Britons suffer from a poor night’s sleep, often thought to be stress related. It is said that regular poor sleep raises the risk of diabetes and obesity and can shorten life expectancy. Researchers from the University of Illinois, The Northwest University of Chicago and the Hwa Hsia Institute of Technology in Taiwan, conducted the study using 49 office employees. Just over half of the employees studied spend the day in mostly windowless environments, while the rest were sat next to windows, frequently exposed to natural daylight.
Some of the volunteers wore devices to calculate the level of light exposure they were receiving. The device also measured the level of activity and sleeping/waking times. Neil Stanley, a sleep expert, said the body needed exposure to daylight to keep its sleeping patterns on track. Office lighting did not contain blue light, the wavelength of light from the sun that controls the body clock.
There are many more contributing factors other than a natural light source that may boost employee productivity. In order to attract and retain your staff, it is important to manage job satisfaction to ensure you are creating a happy working environment. Although pay is one of the top working incentives, it takes a lot more to get the most out of your employees.
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