- Study asked volunteers to spend almost five days in an office-style environment
Working in an office without windows could make type 2 diabetes worse, research suggests.
A small study, including 13 retired people with the condition, asked the volunteers to spend almost five days in an office-style environment next to a window with daylight streaming through it.
They also spent the same period inside with no window, and only artificial electric LED lighting.
When people were next to a window, their blood sugar level stayed at a normal level 59 per cent of the time.
But under electric light, it was normal just 51 per cent of the time, 24-hour blood glucose monitors showed.
Working in an office without windows could make type 2 diabetes worse, research suggests (Stock image)
Professor Joris Hoeks, senior author of the study from Maastricht University, said: ‘People shouldn’t be stuck in poorly lit offices with no windows, these results suggest.
‘It is likely that daylight positively affects your body clock, which is important for processes within the body like control of blood sugar.
‘Although we did not see a large difference in blood sugar control linked to light, this is interesting because it is very simple for people to change their daytime routine slightly and get more natural light by sitting next to a window.’
The study, presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Hamburg but which has not been published in a journal or reviewed by other scientists, gave people the same meals and kept them under dim light in the evening, but changed the type of light they were exposed to between 8am and 5pm.
Dr Lucy Chambers, head of research communications at Diabetes UK, said: ‘Daylight plays a critical role in synchronising the body’s internal clock, which is known to influence many bodily functions, including the use of glucose.
‘This small study hints that increasing the time spent in natural daylight could be an activity that helps some people with type 2 diabetes lower their blood sugar levels.
‘While questions remain about the duration and frequency of daylight required to help blood glucose management, we know that getting outside and being active can benefit us all.
‘Going for a walk in your lunch break, travelling on foot or by bike, and enjoying green spaces, are some of the ways to increase time outside and physical activity.’
The study has not yet been published in a journal or reviewed by other scientists.