Lighting is an integral part of our lives; it sets the mood in our home, helps us to see more clearly when it’s dark and helps us with tasks such as reading and writing. But did you know that the light you choose for your home can also have an effect on your body and brain? From making you feel happier to caring for your eyes, there are many ways that choosing the right lighting can benefit your health.
Here we take a look at four important health benefits of light and how lighting can help you to stay happy and healthy.
1. Beat the winter blues
As winter draws in, the nights start to get darker and the days get shorter. A lack of natural light during the winter can have a negative effect on our health and bodies. Many people suffer from SAD, or seasonal effective disorder during the winter months. This health condition is thought to be caused by a lack of exposure to day light, leaving suffers feeling depressed and tired.
Our bodies need a good quantity of light to regulate our body clocks and make us feel happy. According to Dr Victoria Revell, a chronobiologist at the University of Surrey:
“Light is critical for our health and wellbeing. Ensuring that we receive adequate light levels at the appropriate time of day benefits our alertness, mood, productivity, sleep patterns and many aspects of our physiology.”
There is no doubt that in the summer, when sunshine bursts through our windows and floods our homes with light, we feel happier and more energised. So how can we get enough light when natural light is lacking?
Artificial light is the answer. During the winter, we can replace natural light with light fittings around our home to expose our bodies to more light. Add extra sources of light to your home during the winter to brighten your rooms after dark. Wall lights, floor lamps and table lamps are a great way to increase your light sources and up your light levels at home.
Swapping traditional light bulbs for ones that cast a brighter light is an easy way to combat low light levels and mimic some of the natural light that you miss during the winter. A light bulb with a high lumen value such as this 7 watt, 560 Lumen LED bulb will produce a bright cool white light similar to natural light.
2. Get a great night’s sleep
Sleep is extremely important to our health. According to the Sleep Foundation, getting 7 to 9 hours sleep a night can relieve stress and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. You may not realise it, but light has a big effect on sleep and we don’t just mean turning the lights off at bedtime. If you suffer from insomnia and struggle to sleep well, changing your home lighting and habits may be able to help.
Recent studies have shown that increased exposure to too much blue light before bed is disruptive to sleep patterns. Blue light is shown to suppress melatonin production, the hormone that controls sleep and wake cycles. So exposure to blue light stimulates alertness, diminishes feeling of tiredness and interferes with sleep. Tablets, phones, computers and TVs all emit blue light, so using these devices before bedtime means that when we go to bed, our brains can’t switch off and we spend the night tossing and turning.
There are two ways to combat this; cut down your technology use before bedtime, and expose your body to yellow light instead. Yellow light has the opposite effect to blue light. It increases melatonin production and tells the brain it’s time to sleep. An hour before bedtime, reduce your exposure to artificial blue light by dimming the lights and using yellow lamps. Replacing the light bulbs in your table lamps and bedside lamps with yellow LED light bulbs is an easy way to sleep better at night time. Turn them on an hour before bedtime and your brain will be ready to sleep as soon as you go to bed.
Alternatively, use a clever colour changing lamp such as the Philips LivingColors Micro mood lamp. This lamp has a range of 64 colours to choose from, including a spectrum of yellow shades. Simply switch the lamp to yellow at bed time for a great night’s sleep.
3. Feel more energised
Many of us are working long hours, have families to care for and many other things that can leave us feeling exhausted and drained of energy during the day. Just as light can make us feel relaxed at bedtime, it can also increase our energy levels when we need a boost of productivity and alertness.
Exposure to blue light at bedtime has a negative effect as effects our sleep, but it can also have a positive effect when we want to feel more awake. Findings have discovered that exposure to a cool blue light promotes concentration and alertness and maintains energy levels. If you struggle to wake up on a morning, or suffer from a mid-day energy slump, exposure to blue light could help to up your energy levels and make you feel more awake.
If you want to expose yourself to more blue light, try adding a blue light bulb such as this 4 watt LED blue light bulb to a lamp and switch it on when you want to feel more energised.
The Philips LivingColors range is a great way to expose your body to energising blue light. With a range of 256 colours, the LivingColours Mini lamp has a wide range of blue shades for you to choose from. Philips mood lamps can also be used in conjunction with Philips hue technology, an app that has a range of pre-set light settings, including ‘energise’ and ‘concentrate’. A perfect solution for changing your mood with light.
4. Care for your eyes
Looking after your eye health is important and choosing the right lighting can help to care for your eyes. Eyes need light to function, but sometimes too much light or the wrong type of light can cause damage and impair your vision.
Uneven, dim light can cause eyestrain in the office, when reading or when focusing on a task such as writing. When there isn’t enough light, your eyes will work harder than they should, leaving them tired and sore. On the other hand, too-bright light causes glare and dazzle that can lead to damaged eye sight.
Even and diffused light is the best type of light for healthy eyes. Make sure that the light in your home is bright enough and evenly distributed throughout the room with layers of ambient, accent and task lighting.
Philips has a range of Eyecare lamps that produce just the right amount of diffused lighting, helping to reduce eye fatigue and strain. The high quality, cool LED light is evenly distributed for optimal eye comfort. Switch your desk lamp or bedside table lamp to the Philips Eyecare LED lamp to look after your eyes when reading or writing.
Feel happier and healthier this winter with home lighting from Litecraft. We have a wide range of table lamps, mood lamps, light bulbs, LED lighting and more, all available online and in store. For more information, contact us or leave a comment below.