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The Role of Daylight for Humans: Gaps in Current Knowledge


Münch, Mirjam; Wirz-Justice, Anna; Brown, Steven A; Kantermann, Thomas; Martiny, Klaus; Stefani, Oliver; Vetter, Céline; Wright, Kenneth P; Wulff, Katharina; Skene, Debra J (2020). The Role of Daylight for Humans: Gaps in Current Knowledge. Clocks, 2(1):61-85.

Abstract

Daylight stems solely from direct, scattered and reflected sunlight, and undergoes dynamic changes in irradiance and spectral power composition due to latitude, time of day, time of year and the nature of the physical environment (reflections, buildings and vegetation). Humans and their ancestors evolved under these natural day/night cycles over millions of years. Electric light, a relatively recent invention, interacts and competes with the natural light–dark cycle to impact human biology. What are the consequences of living in industrialised urban areas with much less daylight and more use of electric light, throughout the day (and at night), on general health and quality of life? In this workshop report, we have classified key gaps of knowledge in daylight research into three main groups: (I) uncertainty as to daylight quantity and quality needed for “optimal” physiological and psychological functioning, (II) lack of consensus on practical measurement and assessment methods and tools for monitoring real (day) light exposure across multiple time scales, and (III) insufficient integration and exchange of daylight knowledge bases from different disciplines. Crucial short and long-term objectives to fill these gaps are proposed.

Abstract

Daylight stems solely from direct, scattered and reflected sunlight, and undergoes dynamic changes in irradiance and spectral power composition due to latitude, time of day, time of year and the nature of the physical environment (reflections, buildings and vegetation). Humans and their ancestors evolved under these natural day/night cycles over millions of years. Electric light, a relatively recent invention, interacts and competes with the natural light–dark cycle to impact human biology. What are the consequences of living in industrialised urban areas with much less daylight and more use of electric light, throughout the day (and at night), on general health and quality of life? In this workshop report, we have classified key gaps of knowledge in daylight research into three main groups: (I) uncertainty as to daylight quantity and quality needed for “optimal” physiological and psychological functioning, (II) lack of consensus on practical measurement and assessment methods and tools for monitoring real (day) light exposure across multiple time scales, and (III) insufficient integration and exchange of daylight knowledge bases from different disciplines. Crucial short and long-term objectives to fill these gaps are proposed.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:28 February 2020
Deposited On:07 Apr 2020 07:07
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 14:59
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:2624-5175
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/clockssleep2010008

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