Building Operating Management

Lighting Can Help Prevent Workplace Blahs

For most people, sight is the most influential of the five senses. The winter blues are a result of experiencing less light, primarily less sunlight, during the day. Some people suffer from the more intense and debilitating Seasonal Affect Disorder, or SAD, which carries with it symptoms closely related to clinical depression. It is not just a coincidence that these cases occur more often at higher longitude, where access to sunlight access decreases with the shorter winter day.

Studies show that SAD can be effectively treated with a strong dose of light: Roughly 1,000 footcandles, about as much as a person would get from the sunrise, is recommended for half an hour each morning. The popular belief among researchers is that these glum feelings can be attributed to the production of melatonin, which seems to play a role in regulating sleep cycles and which is produced in greater quantities at night. By contrast, serotonin, which is produced by bright light and points of sparkle, can elevate a person’s mood. [confirm that this rewrite is correct] In short, on sunny days we are likely to have more spring in our steps, and on overcast days we are more likely to feel “blue” and wish for the sunnier days to come.

Since occupants will be spending most of their days away from direct sunlight and under very even soft light, maintaining select areas for revving up serotonin production by the light of the sun or multiple points of bright sparkle will serve the occupants well by offering short reprieve or a nano-vacation that can leave people feeling happier and more energetic.

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  posted on 4/1/2009   Article Use Policy

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