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What you do in the office during the day can determine whether you sleep well at night.

Image: iStock.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to you scoring yourself a solid night of sleep. Diet, alcohol consumption, exercise and stress can all impact how much shut-eye we get.

According to a new study conducted by the University of Illinois, the key to sleeping like a baby at night comes down to where you sit in your office during the day.

Related:Feeling anxious or depressed? Your sleep habits might be to blame. 

Professor Mohamed Boubekri and his team that monitored the sleep patterns and behaviour of 49 office workers; all of whom experienced different levels of light exposure during the day due to their desk positioning.

What they found was the workers sitting at desks that experienced higher volumes of light (i.e. those smug ducks with the window seats) not only enjoyed more sleep, but also had a better quality of sleep than those employees whose desks experienced minimal natural lighting. (Post continues after the gallery.)

Apparently, it’s all to do with our internal body clock, which is regulated by daylight. Our bodies absorb the light, which assists with the production of melatonin, the hormone responsible for telling your body when it’s time to hit the hay.

Dr Siobhan Banks from the Sleep Health Foundation says that light is crucial to getting good shut-eye.

Related:What it’s like to live with the constant “sleep attacks” that come with narcolepsy. 

“Light helps us to set our circadian rhythms. It’s the main thing in our environment that affects our sleep. We get our timing cues from the light and it governs everything from when we sleep to when we eat,” she explains.

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Start working on that window seat. Image: istock

But what about those of us who have no choice but to spend our workday away from the window?

Dr Banks has some helpful suggestions.

Related: “I tried to make my own shampoo and nearly scrambled eggs in my hair.”

"Get the light early in the morning if you can and help set your rhythms that way. Park your car further away from work and walk," she says.

To find out more about getting a better nights sleep, visit the Sleep Health Foundation's website for fact sheets and information.

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