What Working In a Dark Office is Doing to Your Brain… and What You Can Do About It


Do you ever feel like as the work week goes on, you’re just getting dumber? You lose focus, you’re more tired and less productive. You might pass it off as just being distracted by thoughts of the weekend that lies ahead. Well, the bad news is that the dimly lit space that you work in really is affecting your mental capacity.

A new study conducted by Michigan State University neuroscientists, noted in a recent Fast Company article, has yielded changes in the structure of lab rats’ brains when they are kept in dimly lit areas for extended periods of time. (Sound familiar?) The article states that “after exposing them to dim light over a period of four weeks, the rats lost 30% of the capacity of their hippocampuses (the region of the brain responsible for learning and memory). The dim light also impacted the rats’ performance on a spatial task.”

So for all of you workers who are cooped up in dark spaces without natural light, that’s not a great thing. But, there’s good news: “On the flip side, rats that were exposed to bright light improved on their performance of the spatial task; and when rats that had been exposed to dim light were given doses of bright light for a month, they fully recovered the mental capacity that had been lost.” So maybe there’s a chance for you yet.

The most progressive companies are already well aware of the benefits of natural light pervading the workplace. Of course, the trend has been to keep increasing the placement and size of windows throughout buildings. (Downside: lots of heat.) But the areas most frequently lit by windows are lobbies, periphery offices and conference rooms. So does that mean all occupants of interior spaces have to suffer with brain drain? Nope. Not when you can integrate unique top-lighting solutions like tubular daylighting systems.

What are they? They start with domes that sit on the roof of a building, engineered to capture sunlight from virtually any angle. And then they push that light into the building space via highly reflective tubes and fixtures that diffuse it for a beautiful spread of natural light into the area beneath. That means daylight can be brought to workspaces that were previously unimaginable, and occupants can benefit from natural light all day long.

For commercial tubular daylighting solutions, Solatube is the industry innovator and leader, providing products for everything from the most intimate office spaces to the largest warehouse and industrial buildings. And they’re designed to work with open ceiling, closed ceiling, and even retrofit 16” on-center configurations. And their unique technologies also keep heat out. So no matter where you work, you can get the natural light you need to stay healthy, productive and comfortable.