Keep on the sunny side: natural light improves nurse mood and performance

iStock | ep stock

iStock | ep stock

You know all too well that night shifts can wreak havoc on nurses’ sleep schedules, but a new study shows the lack of sunlight may also affect our moods and job performance (eek!).

The study, published in Health Environments Research and Design Journal, found that nurses working the day shift with views of nature reported they were more alert and experienced less stress than those without access to natural light, according to Healthcare Traveler.

But the study wasn’t just about perception; four out of five nurses with access to natural light actually had improved vital signs over those in windowless units. This includes lower blood pressure and higher body temperature.

The study looked at performance over a three-year period in “two wards that have similar environmental and organizational conditions, and similar patient populations and acuity, but different availability of windows in the nursing stations.”

Other findings from the study showed that workplaces with natural light also contributed to better communication among nurses and less errors.

What do you think? Have you experienced working with and without natural light? Was your performance or mood affected? Let us know in the comments!


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