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The role of daylight for humans: Gaps in current knowledge

Munch, Mirjam, Wirz-Justice, Anna, Brown, Steven, Kantermann, Thomas, Martiny, Klaus, Stefani, Oliver, Vetter, Celine, Wright Jr., Kenneth P., Wulff, Katharina and Skene, Debra (2020) The role of daylight for humans: Gaps in current knowledge Clocks and Sleep, 2 (1). pp. 61-85.

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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.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Biosciences and Medicine
Authors :
Munch, Mirjam
Wirz-Justice, Anna
Brown, Steven
Kantermann, Thomas
Martiny, Klaus
Stefani, Oliver
Vetter, Celine
Wright Jr., Kenneth P.
Wulff, Katharina
Date : 28 February 2020
Funders : Daylight Academy
DOI : 10.3390/clockssleep2010008
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Uncontrolled Keywords : natural light; spectrum; twilight; circadian rhythms; melatonin; entrainment; health; sleep; alertness; mood
Depositing User : James Marshall
Date Deposited : 21 Feb 2020 10:13
Last Modified : 28 Feb 2020 16:48

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