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Human Centric Lighting

14 January 2022

Circadian rhythm

Circadian rhythm is the body’s sleep and wake cycle throughout the day.

What is circadian rhythm?

Circadian rhythm is the body’s sleep and wake cycle throughout the day. It is controlled by the brain’s production of the sleep hormone melatonin, which is affected by both daylight and electric light. Therefore, it is important that the body is exposed to light and darkness at the right times of the day to ensure that our circadian rhythm works optimally. The melatonin helps to control our circadian rhythm and is affected by the amount of light that hits the retina of the eye. The more light that hits the eye, the lower the production of melatonin and thus we feel less sleepy. The short blue wavelengths have a greater effect on the production of melatonin than the warm light with longer wavelengths, which therefore shows that melatonin is sensitive to the different spectral properties of the light source.

With knowledge of the influence of light on the body and our circadian rhythm, it is clear how important it is to have the right lighting in buildings. As many are not exposed enough to daylight, but instead mainly electric light, the circadian rhythm is disturbed, luminaires with circadian rhythm lights have been developed.

What is circadian lighting?

Light can be of great importance to our well-being and can be used as a tool in a health-related connection. In the concept of healing architecture, the architecture and the surroundings are used as part of the healing process in health-related buildings, which i.a. affected by the lighting. Hospitals, care centers and rehabilitation centers have staff who works around the clock and patients who do not have the opportunity to go out and be exposed to daylight during the day. This can lead to disturbances in the circadian rhythm and thus have a negative effect, both mentally and physically. Therefore, several institutions have begun to install circadian rhythm lighting to maintain the circadian rhythm in patients, elderly and staff.

Luminaires with circadian rhythm light contain an LED plate programmed with a light sequence where the color temperature (K) simulates the natural color temperature from the sun during a day. The color sequence runs from the warm color temperatures (1800K) and simulates sunrise and flows over to the light / bluish (6500K) in the middle of the day and ends the evening by going back to the warm color temperatures (2000K) as sunset.

The circadian rhythm light has been shown to help staff with sleep deprivation, mood swings and headaches and helped people with dementia to a calmer behavior, a better circadian rhythm and less confusion. In addition, circadian rhythm lighting has been shown to help patients recover faster and have a positive effect on depression.
In the “Specialområde hjerneskade” located in Region Midtjylland, which offers day care, 24-hour services and rehabilitation for brain-injured people, circadian lighting from Lumega have been used. The lighting interacts with the decor, helping to create a better atmosphere for the residents.