Lighting for health and wellbeing 

Introduction to the human impact of light and colour

The light that comes into our eyes has a significant, subconscious, impact on people’s perception of space and, ultimately, how they feel. This is why lighting generally but also specifically artificial lighting plays an important role in the human condition.

This fundamental human condition is positively, or negatively, impacted. The health and wellbeing of individuals and groups of people can be modified by lighting. Blue light, and the well-known effects on sleep disorder, is a classic example. Phones, tablets and other IT equipment have night modes, where blue light levels are reduced in the evening.

The purpose of this night mode is to stabilise our natural circadian rhythm, where the natural hues become warmer as the sun sets and dusk arrives. The foregone conclusion of sleep disruption and disorder will arrive from the dichotomy between the natural lighting becoming warmer and the blue light of the phone.

On the other side of the coin; light can actively stimulate the mind and increase cognitive performance, whilst reducing negative emotion. Blue light can important during the day because it keeps us alert, so is sometimes useful in workplaces and medical environments.

This is where suitable lighting designs, alongside appropriate choices of luminaires, becomes important on a core level – how our moods and behaviours are influenced. Lighting ultimately needs to fit with our natural cycle as much as possible, replicating what our body requires and has evolved alongside.

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