Hamburg (Germany): Diabetes can affect almost every aspect of life. The Harvard Business Review mentions a 2019 study that revealed how one in eight new cases of Type 2 diabetes is occurring in 18- to 40-year-old adults. And that is the period of the lives of most of us when we are stuck in office chambers day in and day out with no scope of getting some sunlight.
While it’s unusual for diabetes to restrict occupation or job choices, the major challenges experienced by people working a nine-to-five surround maintaining dietary and exercise plans that will keep their blood sugar at a healthy level. Now a study, presented at the recent annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Hamburg, reveals that spending time in an office without windows could affect blood sugar levels.
Simply put, this study of diabetics found that working under artificial light had a negative impact on their blood sugar levels. Many of us who operate from offices work inside, whether in offices, warehouses, shops, schools, or other locations. This could be risky for people with diabetes, new research has found.
Improving blood sugar control may be as easy as increasing daytime exposure to natural light, according to new research that can help millions of people with Type 2 diabetes (T2D).
The study showed that natural daylight can boost metabolism and help treat and prevent diabetes. It can also help curb other metabolic conditions, such as obesity.
As part of the study, 13 retired people with type 2 diabetes spent almost 10 days in an office-style environment.
For the first half of the experiment, they sat next to a window that had daylight streaming through.
And for the second half, they sat under artificial LED lighting, with no window in the room.
Scientists discovered that while sitting next to the window the participants’ blood sugar levels were “normal” 59 percent of the time.
This dropped to 51 percent when under the electric light, their blood glucose monitors showed.
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.”
Useful Findings That EVEN Non-Diabetic/Healthy Individuals Can Use:
As for those not suffering from Diabetes, this may not be such a huge variation in blood sugar control, it could still make a big difference to people with diabetes though, Professor Joris Hoeks said.
“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,” he added.
“The misalignment of our internal circadian clock with the demands of a 24/7 society is associated with an increased incidence of metabolic diseases, including type 2 diabetes,” said Ivo Habets, of Maastricht University, in the Netherlands.
“Our research shows that the type of light you are exposed to matters for your metabolism. If you work in an office with almost no exposure to natural light, it will have an impact on your metabolism and your risk or control of Type 2 diabetes, so try to get as much daylight as possible, and ideally, get outdoors when you can,” Habets said.
Get some sunlight, and lower your high blood sugar:
It is now learnt that the body’s internal clock can have an effect on blood sugar levels. Experts say that 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.”
How to get some sunlight/daylight during office hours:
- Go for a walk in your lunch break
- Travel on foot or by bike
- Enjoying green spaces
- Increase time outside and physical activity
- Let your manager know: While it might make you feel vulnerable, it’s important for your boss to understand the impact your condition has on you throughout the day, says the HBR report.
The study findings were presented at the ongoing annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Hamburg, Germany from October 2-6 and have not yet been published in a journal or reviewed by other scientists.