Avoiding daylight avoidance

Recommendation 80
Measures stimulating daylighting should not lead to avoidance of daylight and thus become counter-productive.

Chapter (theme)
Architectural spaces (light and sight)

Because of
sensory oversensitivity to light

In order to
promote concentration and teamwork at home and possibly lessen sleep problems.

As explained in the theme ‘light and sight’, a balance has to be struck between sufficient incoming daylight and the tendency of many people on the spectrum to avoid it. This avoidance can have several detrimental effects; here we add the hypothesis that sleep problems may be part of these.

Daylight therefore should not be direct and overabundant.

There are many ways of achieving this, such as with the aid of lace curtains and other means of interior design. In this case of building or refurbishing one can think of:

  • sandblasted glass (see Humphreys)
  • clerestory glazing (Beaver, 2004 and Humphreys)
  • sloping ceilings for optimal reflection.

The textbook example of clerestory glazing are the windows in the uppermost part of the nave of a basilica which rises above the lower aisles. The incoming light through such windows is tempered. Humphreys shows a picture of it. Beaver (2004) uses this principle repeatedly and illustrates it with drawings.

Sleep problems
In the theme ‘light and sight’ a hypothesis is presented about daylight avoidance as a possible contributing factor to sleep problems. If this idea is correct, the measures in this recommendation also serve to alleviate sleep problems.
An extra measure in this context is the application of glass which selectively allows the part of the light spectrum (the short-wave blue-green part) which hinders the release of melatonin. Evidently, this measure contributes to an undisturbed production and release of melatonin.


Humphreys, Simon, ‘Architecture: Taking autism into account or not?’, (place and publisher not mentioned), 2008.