Chronobiology shines a light on health, circadian rhythms and architectural design – The Washington Post

Insufficient daylight coming through the windows of your house, apartment or workplace may be worsening your health. At night, electrically powered sources of light may further compromise health. And researchers suggest that perhaps as many as a third of the people reading this newspaper might be affected.Problems with sleep, mood and alertness are the primary, light-related symptoms. These symptoms result from the conflict between the human brain’s natural diurnal clock — the circadian rhythm triggered by and linked to rising and setting of the sun — and the actual timing of day-to-day activities. If your sleep-wake schedule is substantially out of sync with your work-play schedule, you probably suffer from some or all of these symptoms.Decades of research in chronobiology show that the timing, intensity and duration of exposure to daylight and darkness directly affect how well people sleep, how well they function while awake and how well they feel.SAD — seasonal affective disorder — is an appropriate acronym. Anecdotal evidence has long told us that living in extreme, sun-deprived northern latitudes, such as Scandinavia, can induce depression. Inhabitants of northerly American and Canadian cities with lengthy, cloud-overcast winters commonly complain about how their city and their moods are gray for too many months.In their recently published book “Chronotherapy: Resetting Your Inner Clock to Boost Mood, Alertness, and Quality Sleep,” authors Michael Terman and Ian McMahan explain in detail the relationship between health, light and architectural design, and specifically the design and treatment of windows and lighting systems in buildings.

via Chronobiology shines a light on health, circadian rhythms and architectural design – The Washington Post.

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