The effect of light is not just limited to our vision. In fact countless researchers have found that light has a number of psychological, spiritual as well as biological effects on living things. Scientists believe that our body has a natural clock which is located in ‘hypothalamus’, a part of our brain. This brain section is linked to our photoreceptors or simply put, cells that receive and process light. They also tune our body’s natural clock or the ‘circadian rhythm’ with that of nature thereby defining our sleep patterns and improving sleep quality.
It is essential to understand the circadian rhythm/cycle. We live in an environment where most of our activities are indoors; from waking up to going to the office till the time we hit the bed, we get little exposure to natural light. In order to take the full benefit of our natural cycle, researches have recommended that we imitate the earth’s natural cycle by using artificial lights. For instance, during the day brighter lights are recommended while less bright and warm lights are recommended for the night. If these cycles do not match or oppose each other significantly it can confuse our circadian rhythm and disrupt our sleeping pattern, sleep quality and cause other issues.
Light can be evaluated based on its color or hue, saturation, brightness and temperature. Brightness is measured in ‘lumens.’ It is the light given out by a light source. Saturation is a measure of intensity while hue is the color of the light. Color temperature, measured in kelvin, refers to the tone of the color; the higher the temperature, the brighter and cooler will be the light.
Numerous research studies have shown that intense lights can enhance both negative as well as positive emotions. Some investigators carry out scrutiny of criminals in dark and gloomy environments while others use intense lights in their investigative rooms.
You might feel more motivated on a bright sunny day than you would on a rainy and gloomy day. It's very natural for many people to feel a little depressed on a dark rainy day. Candle light dinners are considered more romantic than sitting under bright lights and having dinner with your partner.
Light has been found to influence our appetites. This is one of the reasons why people tend to eat more in fast food restaurants as compared to specialized cuisine restaurants. Fast food restaurants are usually brightly lit and bright lights are considered to make you eat more. Dimly lit places make you eat slower and relatively lesser as well.This is because they make you feel more relaxed. Bright lights make you happier and so you tend to pay less attention to what you are consuming; therefore they are more likely to make you eat fatty foods.
Sunlight is a great source of Vitamin D and energy; the sun provides strength to the entire universe. Studies show that adequate exposure to sunlight can have a significantly positive effect on your mood. It was found that people who stay more exposed to the sun are more likely to work out and sleep more as compared to those who don’t. That’s because your body configures itself to match the earth’s cycle making you feel energetic. Adequate lighting also has an impact on our mental well-being. Exposure to sunlight or the right indoor lights can help manage the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Constant exposure to harsh lighting or unpleasant lighting is considered to be one of the leading causes of not just vision related issues but also headaches and migraines.
It is believed that exposure to blue light near or at bedtime reduces the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone. The lower the level of melatonin the more awake you will feel. Cell phones, computers and TV screens emit blue light and this is why it is not a good idea to use these screens for long before going to sleep.
However, blue light is ideal for those places and times where you need to work your best, for instance meeting rooms, factories, kitchens, etc. Brain cells are considered to be most sensitive to blue lights.
Red wavelengths are considered to have the least impact on our circadian rhythm. They are known to have a positive effect on our mental health. It works exactly opposite to blue wavelength; it increases the production of melatonin and therefore not only helps you sleep but also improves your sleep quality.
There are many different light solutions available in the market which you can install at home to benefit from their therapeutic effect. You may want to consider different types of lights for different rooms.
These consist of a number of LED lights in the form of a strip; they are available in a number of varieties. For instance, you can choose the Luminoodle color light rope from 15 different colors and 10 different brightness settings. They have a wireless remote control so you can control them while lying in your bed or sitting on your couch. You can recharge them through a USB cable plugged into a charger or your laptop. They are simple to install; you can use magnets to stick them on a metal surface, use universal ties or use them as a lantern in the free nylon pouch. You can use different colors for different rooms.
They use a projector to project a wide variety of moving nebulae and stars on your ceilings in different colors; this has a soothing effect on your mind. They can also help your children relax when it is bedtime. The aurora lights bring the experience of the northern lights to your home. They are also available in a number of colors and patterns.
They are also available in a wide variety. Some are in the form of bulbs that can be screwed in or simply plugged into a power socket. Others are available in the form of LED strips and use batteries such as the Luminoodle Click which uses AAA batteries and can be adhered to any surface. You can even shape them whichever way you want.
Some people suffer from SAD i.e. Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is a type of depression that is restricted to certain seasons. This condition is sometimes treated by using devices such as light therapy boxes. They ease the SAD symptoms by influencing the release of brain chemicals that are linked to mood swings and sleep. However, you need a prescription for using one and should get the one that filters ultraviolet radiation so that you don’t end up hurting yourself.