February 7, 2018


If you tank your next performance review, here's your excuse.  Your boss just needs to fix the LIGHTING situation in your office. 

Researchers exposed rats to office lighting for a month, and the rats lost 30% of the capacity in a part of the brain associated with memory and learning.  But when they were exposed to bright light that was more like daylight for a month, they went back to normal.  Researchers at Michigan State University just did a study that looked at how lighting affects our ability to learn and remember things.  They exposed rats to two different types of lighting.  One was designed to mimic the kind of lighting you see in most offices.  The other was more like daylight, so a lot brighter.


And after just one month, the rats that were exposed to office-style lighting lost about 30% of capacity in their hippocampus.  That's the part of your brain associated with memory and learning.  Yes, it literally changed the STRUCTURE of their brain.  The good news is it's reversible.   The researchers exposed the same rats to bright light for another month, and their brains fully recovered.  Unfortunately most companies probably won't change their lighting setup just because of one study done on rats.  And the researchers didn't suggest any specific fixes to try on your own.

But opening a few window blinds . . . spending more time outdoors . . . or putting a lamp on your desk probably won't hurt.