Circadian rhythm and light design.How does human-centric lighting improve our health and well-being?

Circadian rhythm and light design.How does human-centric lighting improve our health and well-being?

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As we spend increasing amounts of time inside, the lighting design of indoor environments has never been more important.

Have you ever noticed how you feel after being outside all day? You may feel more awake, alert, and energetic. This is because natural sunlight helps keep our circadian rhythm working as it should.

Our circadian rhythm is our body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.When it’s disrupted,we can experience variousadverse health effects. Unfortunately, as we continue to spend more time indoors, particularly in the colder months, our circadian rhythm may become out of sync.

One way to address this imbalance is through dynamic lighting design known as circadian rhythm lightingor — human-centric lighting.

What is circadian rhythm, and how does light impact it?

The word circadian originates from the Latin phrase circa diem, meaning ‘about a day’: circa (about) diem (day).

Also known as the body clock or biological clock, our circadian rhythm is controlled by an area of the brain called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN).The SCN uses the light received from our eyes to set our circadian rhythm.

During bright, cool sunlight hours, the eyes send a signal to the SCN that it’sawake time.When cool light colours recede and warmer colours become dominant, the eyes send a signal to the SCN. The SCN then communicates with the pineal gland, which is responsible for releasing melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep cycle.

How does our circadian rhythm impact our health and well-being?

Our circadian rhythm doesn’t only impact our sleep patterns.It regulates many body functions, including hormone production, metabolism, heart rate and blood pressure, and how effectively our cells regenerate. It also helps to regulate our emotional well-being.

Overexposure to artificial light, especially blue light from LED lights, can disrupt our circadian rhythm.This is because LED lights have a high concentration of blue light with a short wavelength. Research shows that blue light suppresses melatonin production more than other colours.

Whenour circadian rhythm is disrupted over a period of time, it can have a negative impact on our health, performance and emotional well-being.Long-term disruption of our circadian rhythm can contribute to:

  • Insomnia
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Reduced productivity
  • Poor mental health

How is human-centric lighting used to improve health outcomes?

In our tunable lighting blog, we discuss how tunable LED lighting can be programmed to mimic the progression of daylight hours by changing light intensity and colour temperature.

Dynamic lighting solutions help us perform better, recover quicker and feel better. Human-centric lighting is an important design consideration in offices, schools, nursing homes, hospitals, factories, and warehouses.

Human-centric isn’t a magic bullet.Spending time outdoors in natural light is always best, but as we spend more time indoors, designing our indoor living and work areas to improve health, increase productivity and save energy is a good start.

Contact us to see how we can help you with the lighting design for your next project.

Smart lighting controls for human-centric lighting

Dynamic solutions such as human-centric lighting require tunable fixtures and a sophisticated light management system to schedule and adjust colour temperatures.There are a range of systems on the market

  • Smart wireless hub
  • Wall-mounted LED panels
  • LCD touch panels
  • Modular panels
  • Touchscreen panels
  • Smartphone and tablet appsoperatedvia a smart voice-activated home control such as Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

Want to find out more about our tunable LED lights?

Discover more about our Power-Lite LED Wifi Integral Downlight here, and watch our CEO, Lloyd Morren, demonstrate how easy it is to install and operate through the Smart Life app.

Contact us today on 1800 909 306 or email us at [email protected] to learn more about human-centric lighting.

Browse our LED lighting fixtures to see our full range of products.