New study finds that Americans believe daylight is essential to their wellbeing, yet they spend most of their time indoors

May 26, 2021
National survey of U.S. adults reveals need for natural light indoors to improve body, mind, and spirit.

NEW YORK, May 20, 2021 -- A majority (83%) of Americans believe that exposure to natural daylight is critical to their good health, according to a new survey. Yet the findings come at a time when Americans increasingly spend most of their time inside, underscoring the need for technologies that can simulate daylight indoors.

BrainLit, a health tech lighting company, commissioned the survey of 1,331 U.S. adults 18 years and older in May 2021 to gauge opinions around light as it pertains to health and workplace issues. The study revealed that 83% of respondents agree that natural daylight is important for good health, affecting things such as sleep cycles, mental focus, and worker productivity. However, there was lower awareness (39%) for the fact that natural daylight can be replicated through indoor lighting systems to improve health and wellbeing.

The disconnect is significant since most respondents reported spending a majority of their time indoors, with nearly half (49%) saying they are inside 12-23 hours each day. Government studies put the numbers even higher, revealing that most Americans now spend 93% of their lives indoors[1].

The survey's findings around light's impact on sleep were particularly telling. The pandemic and its quarantine measures have increased stress and changed sleep behaviors, fueling insomnia and circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders[2] for many. The survey bore this out, with half (50%) of those under 35 years of age and nearly a third (32%) of those 35-54 reporting they are getting less sleep since the start of the pandemic.

"While the data suggests we should encourage people to spend more time outdoors, humanity has moved in the opposite direction in recent generations," said Niclas Olsson, CEO of BrainLit. "People need the health benefits of daylight, but life's circumstances don't always allow them to be outside. The good news is that BrainLit's personalized lighting can help those staying indoors by supporting the body's natural circadian rhythm, resulting in better sleep, health, and mental acuity."

At the same time, Americans prefer the benefits of natural light compared to alternative health and wellness remedies, according to the survey findings. More than half (56%) of all age groups agree that exposure to natural daylight helps them to sleep better, and 67% said that if they had not been sleeping well, they would rather find a natural solution to their sleep troubles than taking medication. Similarly, a majority of Americans (55%) would rather go outside to gain an energy boost during a stressful workday rather than drink a soda or cup of coffee. 

The survey also found that a substantial number of Americans believe natural light can benefit cognitive and performance functions as well. For example, 59% of adults agree that children require natural light to learn, while 42% believe it can relieve symptoms of hyperactivity or ADD in children. For the elderly, respondents believe light can improve symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer's, with more than 42% of respondents agreeing. And two-thirds of adults (67%) believe natural light improves worker productivity.


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,331 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between May 10-11, 2021.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

For more information about BrainLit's solutions, please visit:

About BrainLit

Lund, Sweden-based BrainLit has mastered the science of bringing natural light indoors for the health and wellbeing of people. The company was founded in 2012 by Tord Wingren, one of the inventors of the Bluetooth technology. BrainLit's patented BioCentric Lighting™ technology provides healthy environments by personalizing light according to a person's unique biology. To date, the company has established BioCentric Lighting environments for customers with thousands of employees all over the world and has offices in Europe and North America.

[1] KLEPEIS, N., NELSON, W., OTT, W. et al. The National Human Activity Pattern Survey (NHAPS): a resource for assessing exposure to environmental pollutants. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol 11, 231–252 (2001).

[2] Dr. Rachel Manber, COVID-19 Q&A: Dr. Rachel Manber on Sleep Disturbances, Stanford Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


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