It’s early in the morning, still pitch-dark outside the windows, and you can’t help but think how much easier it was to get out of bed with the summer morning light shining into your room early each day. You’ve just fitted your bedside lamp with a new bulb in a cooler, white light. It’s great for reading – but somehow you’re finding it difficult to fall asleep afterwards. It’s the evening and you’re dog-tired, however after cleaning your teeth by the light of your fluorescent bathroom lighting you find yourself suddenly wide awake again.

Do any of the following situations sound familiar?

If you’ve experienced any of these situations, then it’s very possible that this post is for you. Keep reading for tips on how to adjust your lighting to help you relax when you have time – and get up and go when you don’t!

 

How an excess of artificial light affects your day

Correctly lighting your living space is always important, and especially so during the darker seasons of the year when there’s only have a bit of daylight to work with. This is because, though the days get shorter, the working hours remain the same. We leave the house before the sun rises and come home after it has set, surrounded by artificial light throughout most of the day– from our desk lamp and kitchen light to office lighting and street lamps.

And just as natural daylight influences our well-being, so can artificial light have an influence on our biorhythms – meaning our sleep-wake cycle.

 

How we can use artificial light to our advantage

‘Oh, influences on my sleep cycle? That can’t be good’ you may be thinking. But wait– while that is true to some extent, if we know how to make some small adjustments to our lighting, it can actually help motivate us.

To turn the influence of artificial light in our favour, all we have to do is understand how to use the luminous colour of the light.

 

Item number of this table lamp by FLOS at Lights.co.uk: 3510283

 

Two rules of artificial light

In order to make the best use of artificial lighting, you only need to keep the following two basic rules in mind:

  1. Bluish or ‘cool‘ looking light – the luminous colours of universal white and daylightwakes us up.
  2. Golden or ‘warm‘ looking light – the luminous colour of warm whiterelaxes us.

Rule 1 correlates biologically to the fact that light with a higher present of bluish tint delays the production of melatonin. Melatonin is also known as the sleep hormone. Therefore, a slightly bluish or ‘cooler’ looking light helps us stay alert, motivated and awake.

Rule 2 correlates biologically to the fact that ‘reddish’ light has much less influence on our hormones. Therefore, the production of melatonin is not influenced and our body is able to relax. The warmer, golden light also brings a subconscious feeling of safety and warmth, thanks to the inherent memory of the security provided by fire that reaches back to our ancient ancestors.

But what do we mean by ‘bluish’ light? Imagine you are sitting outdoors on a bright, sunny day. You close your eyes for a bit, and upon opening them, notice that everything has a slight blue tinge: this is the ‘bluish’ aspect of daylight.

 

friends spending time together under warm white light Spending time together under a comfortable, warm white light – relaxation guaranteed!

 

How you can change negative influences into positive motivation

If we combine both rules from above, we notice a few things about the 3 situations described at the beginning of this post: namely, that in each of these situations the incorrect luminous colour is playing a role. Of course we shouldn’t forget that throughout that day our biorhythms are constantly affected by influences outside of our control, though light nevertheless plays a deciding role.

Now, what happens when we take the 3 example situations from the beginning of the post and invert the luminous colour?

It’s early in the morning…

still pitch-dark outside the windows, and there’s no natural light to be found. However, through the use of a light with a bluish tone, the night-time production of melatonin is inhibited, allowing your body to softly and naturally wake up – just as it would with the help of natural day light. Here, a luminous colour of daylight with a minimum temperature of 6,500 Kelvin is best.

In the reading lamp situation…

simply exchange that cooler white bulb in your bedside lamp for a bulb that produces a warm white light. You’ll notice that before long, you’ll drift off on you own reading by a warm white light. Sleep comes naturally, uninfluenced by the comforting yet still substantial light. The luminous colour should be around 2,700 Kelvin or less for best results.

Cleaning your teeth or washing your face….

by the light of bluish fluorescent bathroom lighting is something to be avoided, as the bluish tone interrupts your natural sleep rhythm and would wake you up– something to be avoided in the evening.

 

How light adapts to your natural daily routine

You may have noticed that we just recommended two different luminous colours for the same room – bluish, cooler light to help you wake up, and a warm white light to help you fall asleep. But the same bluish light bulb in your bedside reading lamp that helps you wake up would definitely keep you from falling asleep in the evening.

For this reason, we at Lights.co.uk recommend dynamic light sources – not only for your bedside reading lamp, but perhaps for the light in the kitchen or dining room as well. When you’re eating your breakfast in the morning, for example, or getting ready to go out for a run, a bluish light can be energizing. However, in the evening a more golden light will help you relax. In this way, you can optimise your daily routine simply by changing the luminous colour of the light at that time.

These days many manufacturers offer high quality LED light bulbs, which you can change the luminous colour of on demand. Some examples that you can find at Lights.co.uk are OSRAM with their Lightify series or PHILIPS with the Hue series.

Intelligent lighting by PHILIPS Hue Go – item number at Lights.co.uk: 7531604

Another great thing about these dynamic light sources is that you can program and control them using your smart phone. This means, if you like the level of the lights one evening you can simply save that as a ‘light scene’ and then call it up again the next day– and this isn’t just applicable for one light. Some apps allow you to control and set multiple lights at once. Setting these scenes and controlling your lighting is child’s play, requiring only your smartphone, a standard home internet router and a light bulb with the dynamic lighting technology, included in the starter set. Sometimes an additional ‘bridge’ (also in the starter set) is required. Simply remove the traditional bulb in your bedside reading lamp and replace it with a dynamic lighting bulb – and there you have it!

 

Benefit from dynamic lighting in diverse ways

Anyone can profit from a dynamic light source, but especially late risers, who often have difficulty getting up in the morning to heat up the kettle – let alone to keep up with that resolution you started last month! This is also very helpful for school children, getting them up and ready to start their day – and helping you to start yours as well.

And when you finally come home after a long day you’ll truly enjoy having a comforting light at the tips of your fingers, that will eventually help you off to sleep, just as gently as it woke you.

Discover dynamic lighting solutions now at Lights.co.uk, part of Europe’s leading online shop for lamps and lights.

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