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Have You Lost Your Circadian Rhythm?

Note: This blog is a continuation of the ideas discussed in a recent LightCast podcast.

People might think it’s coffee, but their bodies really need day and night cycles to set their circadian clock, which is roughly a 24-hour cycle. Your body needs to get the correct dose of blue light in the morning, around dawn, and the correct dose of warmer light in the evening–think candlelight brightness. Since most of us depend on artificial light, how can this be achieved so your body can operate optimally? Proper electric lighting design can help you get the light illumination your body needs.

Living and Working Under a Rock

Not receiving enough daylight or improper electric light illumination can throw off your circadian rhythm. If you commute to work via the train and you spend a lot of times in tunnels, you are not getting the sunlight you need to wake your body up. Think about where your office is in the building—are you located on the north side, where you get nice soft light, but not enough?

Electric light options can help to rectify this by providing your body the boost it needs with proper illuminations to stay on its circadian rhythm.

Not All Light Is Created Equal

Architects want to support your circadian rhythms regardless of where you are—home, school, airport, shopping mall, etc. However, many homes are not lit correctly. This means you are not getting enough blue light, causing a disconnect in your rhythm.

Even light from your computer screen affects your circadian rhythm. The more task lighting at your desk, the more it can improve your circadian rhythm. Many offices have started to incorporate vertical illuminated light in their coffee areas. Vertical illumination mimics the appearance of daylight and can be achieved by diffused light being reflected from the walls. This type of lighting allows you to better recognize shapes and faces and is perfect for common areas.

Remember, not all lighting distributions work the same. Downward facing light will not distribute as much light into the space as a direct/indirect pendant light will. The more light bounces around in a space, the more light will get into your eye. You should consider the direction and color temperature of the light source to get the appropriate light you need.

Want to learn more about how electric lighting options can coordinate your circadian rhythm? Listen to LightCast 10: Circadian Friendly Lighting. You can also learn about bio-adaptive lighting by listening to ResiWeek 43: Triple Bottom Line.

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