A growing awareness has recently emerged on the health benefits of exposure to daylight and views. Daylight exposure is linked to circadian rhythm regulation, which can have significant impacts on sleep quality and cognitive function. Views of nature have also been shown to impact emotional affect and performance.
This study explores the impact of optimized daylight and views on the sleep and cognitive performance of office workers. Thirty knowledge workers spent one week working in each of two office environments with identical layouts, furnishings, and orientations; however, one was outfitted with electrochromic glass and the other with traditional blinds, producing lighting conditions of 40.6 and 316 equivalent melanopic lux, respectively.
Participants in the optimized daylight and views condition slept 37 min longer as measured by wrist-worn actigraphs and scored 42% higher on cognitive simulations designed to test their higher order decision-making performance. 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.
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