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We all know the discombobulated feeling of being stuck in a windowless room under fluorescent lights during daylight hours. One reason I’ve never been able to maintain a traditional 9-to-5 office job is that after a week or two of working without natural light, my mind and body begin to short circuit and I quit. I’ve never been able to make it past an entry-level position in a cubicle to enjoy the natural light of the "corner office." How does working in a windowless environment under artificial light make you feel?

Researchers at the Interdepartmental Neuroscience program at Northwestern University in Chicago reported this week that the detrimental impact of working in a windowless environment is a universal phenomenon. A new study titled, "Impact of Workplace Daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life" concludes that there is a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers' sleep, activity, and quality of life. The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal SLEEP.

Compared to workers in offices without windows, those with windows in the workplace received 173 percent more white light exposure during work hours and slept an average of 46 minutes more per night. Workers without windows reported lower scores than their counterparts on quality of life measures related to physical problems and vitality. They also had poorer outcomes in measures of overall sleep quality, sleep efficiency, sleep disturbances, and daytime dysfunction.

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