Get Some Sun on Your Breaks, It’s Good for You
Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)
“Workers without windows reported lower scores than their counterparts on quality of life measures related to physical problems and vitality.” – Department of Neurology, Northwestern University
Getting a bit of sun is thought to release a hormone called serotonin, which can help calm you and put you in a better mood. That’s why it’s important to make sure you get sun during your work day.
Unfortunately, many people work in windowless office environments and do not get regular sunlight exposure. When a person has a lack of sunlight exposure, their serotonin levels can drop low. Low levels of serotonin can put one at risk for disorders like SAD (seasonal affective disorder). SAD, aptly named, is a form of depression that is triggered by changing seasons and lack of sunlight, according to the MayoClinic.
Tips to get more sunlight exposure at the workplace
If you do not have the luxury of being in a windowed office at your workplace, you should make it a point to get out in to the sunlight on your work breaks.
The easiest way to get some sun in a windowless office is to take a short walk outside on your break. Not only will a walk provide you with sunlight exposure, but walking in general is great for your health.
If you’re swamped at work, hold a walking meeting with co-workers or take a work phone call outside. You can even check your e-mails on a bench outdoors, just make sure you get some sunlight even if it means taking your work with you.
Additional Benefits of Balanced Sunlight Exposure
In addition to boosting your mood and reducing stress at work with serotonin, the sun can help give your body the Vitamin D it needs. Vitamin D is great for building strong bones and may have other health benefits (like improving arthritis, rickets, and skin conditions according to an EHP study).
It is important to note that too much sunlight exposure can be dangerous, so avoid prolonged sun exposure and use common sense to achieve a balanced amount of sun. A 5 to 15 minute break at work should be a good amount of time, depending on the weather conditions.
It is important to have a happy and safe work environment. Make it a point to get into the habit of getting some sun while you’re at work, even if it is only a few times a week.
Additionally, you may want to consider contacting an ergonomics expert to assess your work environment.
As always, be sure to share these tips with your workers or employees and for more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit SolutionsNW.com or Contact Us for more detailed information.
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