Picture this: It’s wintertime. You wake up in the dark. After getting ready, you take transit to your office - it’s still dark outside. Then, feeling sluggish, you struggle through an eight-hour (or more) workday in an office cubicle under electric lights. When your day is done, you head home in the dark once again, only to spend your evening indoors too. You haven’t been outside all day.
Does this sound familiar? You’re not alone. We Americans spend the majority of our days indoors - and this is particularly damaging during the fall and winter months, when daylight hours are few and far between.
Just think about it: many of us spend more than 40 hours per week at the office.
New research proves that when workers gain adequate exposure to natural light or light therapy lamps in the morning, they sleep better at night - and are ultimately healthier and more productive at work. Having an “office with a view” is not just a status symbol - it’s actually really good for your body clock.
Our bodies rely on exposure to sunlight to complete their natural functions, such as digestion, sleep patterns and moods.
There’s a conversation brewing about how architects and building planners can incorporate more natural light design into the workplace. It’s also about ensuring that everyone - not just the boss - has access to common spaces with natural sunlight.
But, for those of us who work in older buildings - it might be some time before we can enjoy natural light in our office environment. That’s why incorporating a light therapy lamp into your office setup and daily routine can help leave you feel your best at work.
Here’s how to incorporate light therapy into your office life:
1. Set Your Desk Up
Place the light therapy lamp on your work desk at eye level and within reach. Leaving the lamp in sight serves as a daily reminder and also eliminates any barriers to usage; such as having to take it out of a drawer and find power cables to plug in. For those minimalist desk types, there’s no need to worry about clutter. Our Lumos Lamp is versatile so it can fit subtly into just about any space.
2. Create a Routine
Commit to using the light therapy lamp at a designated time each day. The recommended usage is between 20 to 60 minutes per day - in the earlier part of the day. If an entire hour in one sitting is too long at first, start with less time or try shorter intervals over the course of a few hours.
3. Use Alarms As a Reminder
It can take months to create habits, so setting an alarm on your phone or computer may help remind you to begin and end your light therapy practice. Eventually, you may find yourself reaching for the switch before your alarm even goes off. That’s when you know the habit is formed.
4. Get Outside
Using your light therapy lamp is a great way to supplement exposure to natural light, but it’s still important to get real light every day too. Try to incorporate some outside time into your daily routine at work. Time outside is going to make a world of difference; whether it’s taking a 15 minute stroll around the block on a break, or choosing a lunch spot that’s a little further away from the office.
Having a balanced sleep-wake pattern will reduce the head fog and health issues that come along with light deprivation. It’s time to get back to slaying your work day!
Learn more about how light therapy works in our previous post.