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The Role of Daylight for Humans: Gaps in Current Knowledge

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Sleep/Wake Research Centre, Massey University Wellington, Wellington 6021, New Zealand
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Centre for Chronobiology, Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel, 4002 Basel, Switzerland
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Transfaculty Research Platform Molecular and Cognitive Neurosciences (MCN), University of Basel, 4002 Basel, Switzerland
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Chronobiology and Sleep Research Group, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zürich, 8057 Zürich, Switzerland
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Faculty for Health and Social Affairs, University of Applied Sciences for Economics and Management (FOM), 45141 Essen, Germany
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SynOpus, 44789 Bochum, Germany
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Psychiatric Center Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
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Department of Integrative Physiology, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
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Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, University of Colorado, Aurora, CO 80045, USA
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Departments of Radiation Sciences and Molecular Biology, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
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Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine (WCMM), Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden
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Chronobiology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Clocks & Sleep 2020, 2(1), 61-85; https://doi.org/10.3390/clockssleep2010008
Received: 31 October 2019 / Revised: 20 February 2020 / Accepted: 21 February 2020 / Published: 28 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Clocks & Sleep and Zeitgebers (Light))
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural light; spectrum; twilight; circadian rhythms; melatonin; entrainment; health; sleep; alertness; mood natural light; spectrum; twilight; circadian rhythms; melatonin; entrainment; health; sleep; alertness; mood
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Münch, M.; Wirz-Justice, A.; Brown, S.A.; Kantermann, T.; Martiny, K.; Stefani, O.; Vetter, C.; Wright, K.P., Jr.; Wulff, K.; Skene, D.J. The Role of Daylight for Humans: Gaps in Current Knowledge. Clocks & Sleep 2020, 2, 61-85.

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