Article access to daylight at home improves circadian alignment, sleep, and mental health in healthy adults: A crossover study

Rohan Nagare, May Woo, Piers Macnaughton, Barbara Plitnick, Brandon Tinianov, Mariana Figueiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

As the primary environmental cue for the body’s master biological clock, light–dark patterns are key for circadian alignment and are ultimately fundamental to multiple dimensions of health including sleep and mental health. Although daylight provides the proper qualities of light for promoting circadian alignment, our modern indoor lifestyles offer fewer opportunities for adequate daylight exposure. This field study explores how increasing circadian-effective light in residences affects circadian phase, sleep, vitality, and mental health. In this crossover study, 20 residents spent one week in their apartments with electrochromic glass windows and another week with functionally standard windows with blinds. Calibrated light sensors revealed higher daytime circadian-effective light levels with the electrochromic glass windows, and participants exhibited consistent melatonin onset, a 22-min earlier sleep onset, and higher sleep regularity. In the blinds condition, participants exhibited a 15-min delay in dim light melatonin onset, a delay in subjective vitality throughout the day, and an overall lower positive affect. This study demonstrates the impact of daytime lighting on the physiological, behavioral, and subjective measures of circadian health in a real-world environment and stresses the importance of designing buildings that optimize daylight for human health and wellbeing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9980
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number19
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Blinds
  • Circadian alignment
  • Circadian light
  • Daylight
  • Electrochromic glass
  • Healthy building
  • Lighting for indoor environments
  • Melatonin
  • Residential lighting
  • Sleep

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