Using Lighting for wellbeing

During the winter months, light can play a key role in influencing our mood and productivity levels. We explore the benefits of implementing a human centric lighting approach and how this can be achieved.

‘The winter blues’ is a lighthearted way to describe the misery caused by a lack of natural sunlight during the darker months – but the symptoms are no fun at all.

People suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) report a sense of hopelessness and despair, poor sleeping and eating patterns and an inability to focus on tasks.

The circadian rhythm – the 24-hour ‘body clock’ which helps us carry out basic functions such as feeling hungry, tired or alert - is directly related to our exposure to natural light. Spending long hours indoors under harsh artificial lights disrupts this natural rhythm and can lead to SAD.

This is where a smart lighting system can come into its own.

An automated lighting control system, such as OCTO, can be used to centre human needs in any environment, be that home, school or work.

It can be programmed to track the changes in natural colour temperature and align an interior lighting system to match – essentially mimicking the natural light that our bodies and minds are so dependent on for good mental health and wellbeing.

Used in conjunction with RGB and tunable white LED lights, which offer millions of different colour settings, luminaires can be set to emit specific combinations of brightness, intensity and colour settings to recreate the natural lighting patterns that promote energy, a positive mood and healthier sleeping and eating habits.

For example, cooler light hues can be programmed to help people feel more alert and productive at the start of the day, while warmer lighting can promote creativity and problem solving, as well as signalling the time for rest and relaxation as the day draws to a close.

And, while a smart lighting system can play a vital role in offsetting the often debilitating symptoms of SAD, its benefits extend far beyond personal feelings and winter months.

Living spaces are more relaxed, and workplaces and classrooms more productive, at any time of the year where lighting is employed to create the optimum environment for wellbeing. That offers a ray of light to everybody.

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