If you work beside a window then you should consider yourself lucky. Natural light doesn’t just make you more productive at work and help you to get a better night’s sleep, it may also be a large contributing factor to your intelligence.
A new study conducted by Michigan State University found that spending too much time in poorly lit areas can actually change the structure of rat’s brains, impacting the way they remember and learn new information.
“In other words, dim lights produce dimwits,” said researcher Joel Soler who was the author of the study that was published in the journal Hippocampus.
Soler’s team exposed a group of Nile grass rats to dim lighting over a period of four weeks. At the end of the experiment, these rats lost 30% of the capacity of their hippocampuses (the region of the brain responsible for learning and memory).
In comparison, the researchers exposed another group of rats to bright lights for four weeks. These rats improved both their performance and ability to perform spatial tasks.
If you work in a dark and dreary office don’t worry. The effects of bad lighting can be reversed. The first group of rats were later exposed to bright lights and made a full recovery.
While the research is not fully conclusive because it was carried out on animals and not humans, it does bring our workspaces into question.
The dim light used in the study mimicked typical indoor lighting and cloudy days over the course of winter.
We spend the majority of our lives at work. If our lighting really is affecting our brains then we need to view natural light as not just a work perk, but an absolute necessity.
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