Red seats in a waiting room next to a window

How Natural Light Affects an Office

We can all relate to the sick feeling of waiting at least 25 minutes to be seen by a medical provider in a windowless exam room under fluorescent lights. Living and working without natural light make the body short circuit – and this applies to doctors and staff members as well as their patients.

According to a Psychology Today article, a study titled, “Impact of Workplace Daylight Exposure on Sleep, Physical Activity, and Quality of Life,” concluded that there is a strong relationship between workplace daylight exposure and office workers’ sleep, activity and quality of life.

If you are looking for medical office space for lease in Los Angeles, make sure to put “lots of natural light” at the top of your list of priorities. For more questions about where to locate your practice, contact Boulevard Medical Properties today.

Sleep Disorders and other Dysfunctions

Of the subjects in the above-mentioned study, those who worked in offices without windows slept an average of 46 minutes less per night. They reported lower satisfaction with their quality of life, including a lack of vitality and physical problems such as pain and stiffness. This lead to all sorts of daytime dysfunction which the group who worked in spaces with windows – sources of natural light – were able to avoid.

“Day-shift office workers’ quality of life and sleep may be improved via emphasis on light exposure and lighting levels in current offices as well as in the design of future offices,” said study co-author Ivy Cheung, a Neuroscience doctoral candidate at Northwestern University.

If you have found a medical office space for lease that seems to not have enough windows, find out if you can have more installed.

The Circadian Rhythm

The so-called ‘body-clock’, aka the Circadian Rhythm, controls vital processes of the human biological system. During the day, bright, natural light from the sun sends our brains signals to stay alert and helps us function at our best levels. As the cycle moves towards nighttime, our need for sleep, restoration, and nourishment are reflected in the cooler color and lower intensity of the night light.

“Too much artificial light at the wrong time… can disrupt that rhythm and lead to health problems. This is important for everyone, but for hospital patients who are trying to heal, it’s an especially big deal,” says Deb Zawodny, a healthcare market development manager.

For patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, studies have shown that supporting a patient’s day/night cycle could reduce night wandering by as much as 50%. In a Danish study, supporting the cycle proved to slow the advance of the disease in dementia patients.

Daylight and Mood

An interesting development around our dependence on daylight emerged with the first diagnoses of SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder. The term was coined to describe the feelings of lethargy, sadness, and hopelessness people experience when they have the so-called “winter blues.” For a long time now, the “winter blues” have been thought to be caused by the short days and lack of cheery, bright sunlight during the grayer seasons. Also, People who are not exposed to sufficient sunlight during the day — then experiencing the fade into night — are not able to produce the hormone melatonin effectively. This aggravates their SAD.

Many people have speculated that as we spend more time indoors under artificial light, staring at computer and television screens, we may be encountering a new form of SAD, year-round.

In addition, according to Time Magazine’s article Why Sunlight is so Good for You, “The strongest support for the role of sunlight in health comes from its effect on serotonin: higher levels of serotonin correlate with better mood and feelings of satisfaction and calmness, and lower levels link to depression and anxiety.” It has been shown that people have higher serotonin levels on bright, sunny days than on cloudy ones, no matter how hot or cold the weather.

Cancer Risk

Less daylight means less melatonin, which may also mean cancer. Scientists have found that the lower levels of melatonin found in the daylight-deprived may also lead to lower levels of important chemicals the body uses to repair DNA. That could potentially lead to more cell mutations which trigger cancer.

Summary

The Center for Health Design study titled “Impact of Light on Outcomes in Healthcare Settings” summarizes the many benefits of prioritizing the availability of natural light when looking for medical office space for lease.

Light impacts human health and performance by enabling performance of visual tasks, controlling the body’s circadian system, affecting mood and perception, and by enabling critical chemical reactions in the body. Studies show that higher light levels are linked with better performance of complex visual tasks and light requirements increase with age. By controlling the body’s circadian system, light impacts outcomes in healthcare settings by reducing depression among patients, decreasing length of stay in hospitals, improving sleep and circadian rhythm, lessening agitation among dementia patients, easing pain… The presence of windows in the workplace and access to daylight have been linked with increased satisfaction with the work environment. Further, exposure to light is critical for vitamin D metabolism as well as melatonin and serotonin production in the human body. Light exposure also is used as a treatment for neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia.

Medical Office Space for Lease

Boulevard Medical Properties is the only stop you need to make when shopping for medical office space for lease in Los Angeles. Get in touch with us to find the perfect medical and dental office space for you! Call at 818-882-5700 or Fill Out our Online Contact Form Today!

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