Human-centric lighting, also known as circadian lighting, is a hot topic right now among designers and architects of high-end residential homes. There's a good reason for this, extensive research believes that this new approach to lighting can significantly improve our overall health and wellbeing.
That’s because people now spend a significant amount of time indoors - perhaps now more than ever. In fact, research from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and published by this study in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, found that the average American spends a staggering 93 percent of their life indoors.
It was found that the average American spends 87 percent of their time in enclosed buildings, and a further 6 percent of their time in enclosed vehicles.
Unfortunately, this can lead to health and wellbeing issues. Staying inside where we have no direct access to the natural cycles of sunlight disrupts our natural circadian rhythm. So, what exactly is a circadian rhythm, how does it affect our overall health and how can human-centric lighting (HCL) help? Colorbeam explains.
What is circadian rhythm?
With the large majority of people today spending a significant amount of their time indoors, the risk of circadian disruption is incredibly high. That’s because exposure to artificial lighting and blue-rich light keeps people alert, responsive and productive.
Exposure to this type of light during the day is great, it keeps us productive and improves our concentration. When we are exposed to it into the evening, however, it can seriously impact our overall health and wellbeing.
When we are exposed to blue-rich light our biological clock is reset - that’s the part of our brain that helps us keep track of sunrise and sunset and tells us to produce more melatonin at night so that we can enjoy a good night's sleep.
Improper exposure to blue-rich light in the evening suppresses this release of melatonin, disrupting circadian rhythm and increasing the risk of sleep disorders, depression, poor eating habits and many other issues.
While the research and science in the medical field continues to evolve, with many theorizing that human-centric lighting has an impact and is important for a healthy lifestyle, standards have yet to be accepted industry wide.
What is human-centric lighting and how does it help?
For many years, the conventional lighting industry invested all of its resources into creating lighting fixtures that were aesthetically pleasing and functional.
This has changed significantly in recent years. The rapid advancement and acceptance of LED are leading the way for a whole new set of features and benefits in lighting. Tunability and human-centric lighting are at the forefront of innovations in lighting that are proving to not only deliver a better light but more importantly have beneficial effects on sleep patterns and overall health.
The theory behind HCL lies in the ability to match artificial light to the color of sunlight over a 24 cycle. By doing so, the body either stimulates or suppresses Melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep, based on time of day. This, in effect, replicates our natural human circadian cycle.
At Colorbeam, our patented DMX processor and CIRCADIAN LIGHTING APPLICATION, work in tandem to continually transition the light emitted by our fixtures to best replicate the color of the sun, thus stimulating or suppressing the body’s natural hormones. Colorbeam accomplishes this by utilizing the longitude and latitude of a home that determines the color of the sun from sunrise and sunset.
Colorbeam’s innovative technology not only delivers wellness lighting applications but offers the ability to set scene and mood settings to meet all lifestyles. The perfect light is just a button press away.
What are the health benefits of human-centric lighting?
It is believed that by creating a stable circadian rhythm you can realize a number of improvements to both your mental and physical health. We’ve listed just a few of those benefits here.
You’ll sleep better: By following the natural light patterns of the sun, your sleeping habits will significantly improve. That’s because your body will produce more melatonin at the right time of day - the hormone that’s released in your brain to regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
You will be more productive: Blue-rich light at the right time of day improves your ability to concentrate, increases alertness, reduces fatigue, stimulates your brain and many other benefits that ensure you are awake and productive throughout the working day.
Improved sense of well being: Generally speaking, better sleep leads to better overall health which in turn drives a happier more productive person.
By Michael Teolis
Want to learn more about human-centric lighting solutions and how they can improve your health and wellbeing? Contact Colorbeam today. Our team of lighting experts would love to answer any questions that you may have.