A higher illuminance induces alertness even during office hours : findings on subjective measures, task performance and heart rate measures.

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Abstract

Nocturnal white light exposure has shown marked results on subjective and objective indicators of alertness, vitality and mood, yet effects of white light during daytime and under usual office work conditions have not been investigated extensively. The current study employed a mixed-group design (N=32), testing effects of two illuminance levels (200lx or 1000lx at eye level, 4000K) during one hour of morning versus afternoon exposure. In four repeated blocks, subjective reports, objective performance and physiological arousal were measured. Results showed effects of illuminance on subjective alertness and vitality, sustained attention in tasks, and heart rate and heart rate variability. Participants felt less sleepy and more energetic in the high versus the low lighting condition, had shorter reaction times on the psychomotor vigilance task and increased physiological arousal. Effects of illuminance on the subjective measures, as well as those on heart rate were not dependent on time of day or duration of exposure. Performance effects were most pronounced in the morning sessions and towards the end of the one-hour exposure period. The effect on heart rate variability was also most pronounced at the end of the one-hour exposure. The results demonstrate that even under normal, i.e., neither sleep nor light deprived conditions, more intense light can improve feelings of alertness and vitality, as well as objective performance and physiological arousal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-16
JournalPhysiology & Behavior
Volume107
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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