Is Lighting On Your Self-Care Checklist? Signify Malaysia Shares Why It Should Be
November 2nd, 2021 at 10:39 am
As we continue to live amid the COVID-19 pandemic, health and well-being has remained a priority to the public. More people began to focus on their mental and physical health during the back-to-back lockdowns and made greater attempts towards a healthier lifestyle. However, most of these efforts to be health conscious overlook how lighting can affect one’s health and well-being.
Lighting is a crucial part of proper self-care as it regulates your body function and sets the mood when you engage in different activities. Spending more time at home has over-exposed us to artificial light, which will result in adverse effects on our circadian rhythms, as well as health implications, such as eye strain, headaches, blurry vision, or dry eyes. Light therapy can help rebalance our circadian system.
Signify Malaysia believes that human-centric lighting is the first step for many to ensure a proper upkeep of their welfare. With benefits from regulating sleep to providing a better living environment, homes should incorporate circadian lighting to promote comfort and wellbeing. We spoke to Esmond Tsang, Country Commercial Leader- Consumer, Signify Malaysia, about the adoption of circadian lighting to enhance healthier indoor life.
What Is A Circadian Rhythm
A circadian rhythm is an internal process or physical, mental and behavioural changes the body goes through in a 24-hour cycle. This rhythm regulates the sleep-wake cycle and is affected by light and darkness. An irregular circadian rhythm can affect sleep, body temperature, hormones, appetite and other body functions.
What Is Light Therapy
Light therapy is a type of therapy designed to treat certain health conditions through exposure to artificial light, and can be helpful for people with insomnia, circadian rhythm sleep disorders, and certain types of depression.
Some people experience insomnia due to an underlying circadian rhythm sleep disorder. These sleep disorders can develop naturally, as in the case of extreme night owls, or they can be brought on by working an overnight schedule.
As one of the primary treatments for these disorders, light therapy creates a circadian rhythm for the user to follow by using lights to replicate natural changes of the sunlight throughout the day.
How Light Affects Our Sleeping Patterns & Health
Each person’s biological clock is different; studies have shown that the average duration of the human circadian clock is about 24 hours and 15 minutes. It doesn’t seem like much of a difference, but over a long period of time this difference accumulates. As daylight is the most reliable, repetitive signal that we perceive in the environment, the light of the sun resets our internal clocks every day.
With the understanding of how daylight has a powerful effect on the circadian clock, sleep, and alertness, one can manipulate light exposure to help oneself sleep better at night and be more alert during the day. The circadian clock is most sensitive to light from about 2 hours before usual bedtime and through the night, until about 1 hour after usual wake-up in the morning. Exposure to light during these times will affect when your body naturally gets sleepy and is ready to fall asleep. As most of us use our devices before we go to bed, the blue light emitted from screens can disrupt our circadian rhythm, which can have detrimental effects to our sleeping patterns and health in the long run.
The Benefits Of Using Proper Lighting
With the digital age and the back-to-back lockdown due to the pandemic, most of us have been stuck at home and being glued to a laptop, desktop, mobile phone or large TV screen for the majority of time, our circadian rhythm and eyesight has been severely affected due to the prolonged exposure to blue light and lack of exposure to natural light.
By using proper lighting, users can help regulate their circadian rhythm, which not only affects sleep, but plays a vital role in virtually all systems of the body. For instance, research has indicated that circadian rhythms have an impact on our metabolism and weight through the regulation of blood sugar and cholesterol. Regulating our circadian rhythm also influences mental health as well, reducing the risk of psychiatric illnesses like depression and bipolar disorder.
Work and study related performance can also be improved with a regulated circadian rhythm. A study conducted in the United States found that light qualities of illumination and color temperature influences student gains in reading; with proper, focused lighting, the students performed 36% better at oral reading fluency, compared to 17% with normal lighting.
Incorporating Circadian Lighting At Home
The most crucial thing about working with your circadian rhythms is the establishment of routine. The great thing about smart lighting is that it can be preset to create a routine that becomes automatically integrated into your daily life. These presets can be as complex or as simple as you like. Use lighting to compliment your circadian by setting lights to come on and off, at the level of brightness that you want, at regular times each day. The consistency created by the automatic lighting will help create a regular sleep pattern and thus circadian rhythms that work with rather than against your lifestyle.
Smart lighting can be used to help trigger feelings of sleepiness, such as the automatic dimming of lights at 10pm to create a restful atmosphere. If you want to be strict with yourself and really set a fixed routine, you can set the lights to automatically turn off at a specific time.
One feature of smart lighting that can also be extremely useful is the ability to adjust lights to automatically turn on at the exact level of brightness that you want. For example, you could set up an automatic lighting pathway for times when you wake up in the night and move around the house using very dim lighting, thus allowing yourself to remain sleepy and not startled by a bright light.
The beauty of smart lighting is that it can be managed in exactly the way that you want it. Circadian lighting to help you sleep and aid your health and wellbeing is just one of the many features that is easy to achieve due to the elevated control you gain in your smart home.
The Effectiveness Of Circadian Lighting
Circadian lighting was tested in a clinical trial and a joint field study with the cardiology department of the Maastricht University Medical Center, in the Netherlands, which measured how patient room lighting affects sleep patterns, appraisal and mood across hospitalisation. The results, published in The Journal of Sleep Research in November 2016, verify the benefits on sleep and satisfaction when using the Philips HealWell lighting system to regulate circadian rhythm. After five days of hospitalization, sleep duration for patients increased by nearly half an hour as compared to standardly lit rooms, which helped create a healing environment in order to make the patients’ recovery journey more comfortable.
WiZ brand of lighting solutions is positioned as a connected lighting system to schedule lighting times according to the Circadian rhythm, and provide personalisation for home ambiance. An easy to setup device, users only need to set up their bluetooth and existing WiFi network to enjoy the different modes to brighten their lives. Through the WiZ App, users can easily set the perfect light to study, create a cozy setting by mimicking a fireplace or candlelight, and automate and synchronize lights with daily activities or schedule lights to smoothly wake you up or support your bedtime routine. Most importantly, our WiZ lightbulbs adheres to our strict criteria for visual comfort, known as EyeComfort, which benefits users through minimizing flicker and glare that may irritate eyes, providing natural colour rendering and even light distribution that can increase the quality of colour in the user’s surroundings.
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