RPI’s Lighting Research Center Investigating Impact on Quarantining Indoors

More Daytime Light = Better Sleep and Mood

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is investigating the impacts of working from home or quarantining indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic on individual daily light exposures, and how this may be affecting sleep quality and psychological health. In May 2020, the LRC invited people who had been staying home due to the pandemic to complete a short survey about their sleep, mood, and daily light exposure.

A total of 708 people responded to the survey. LRC researchers analyzed the data to understand how daily indoor light exposure, time spent outside, and time of day spent outside affected sleep quality, sleep-related impairment, anxiety, stress, depression, and mood. Of the survey respondents, only those who were unemployed and staying at home, or employed and working from home were included in the analysis, approximately 600 people, total.
The results revealed that daily indoor light exposure and time spent outside had a major impact on all survey outcomes, including sleep disturbances, sleep-related impairment, anxiety, stress, depression, and mood. Compared to people with “somewhat dim” to “very dim” indoor lighting, people with “somewhat bright” to “very bright” lighting, including having windows without (or with open) curtains or shades, or having several lights turned on, reported:
  • Fewer sleep disturbances
  • Less anxiety and depression
  • Feeling less tired or less irritable
  • Feeling generally happier and more positive
  • Less sleep-related impairment

For more info, see here.