Alexandra Logan also co-opted as a CIBSE Board member.
Here's how lighting can help you work and sleep during lockdown
Our head of lighting, Fabiana Nery Pardhanani, explains how lighting affects our mood and mental health in this Q&A.
Q: What is the best way to light my home workspace?
A: Lockdown means have all been working at home for a while now and in different ways to how we worked before. Depending on your job and home situation, you might be working in different rooms and at different times of the day for instance. Whatever your situation, good lighting can help you work and sleep better.
The basic rule is to make sure you have the correct amount of lighting around you and not to strain your eyes. If you are working during the day, find a comfortable spot with ventilation and as much natural light as possible.
The natural light emits a blue light during the daytime which is beneficial for our working and exercise routines. If you are working in the evening you need extra artificial light support. However the evening light cannot be as bright as during the day, because it can be disruptive to our circadian rhythms and the production of the melatonin, or sleep, hormone.
Make sure you have got a good light in the room and additional task lights at the desk. Your computer desk should also be perpendicular to the window to avoid glare to the screen. Different types of light work in different ways, working light is a cooler colour (exposure to blue), which keeps you alert, while house lighting is a warmer colour (exposure to orange), which is good for relaxation.
Q: How can we get a better sleep routine during lockdown?
A: Sunlight and darkness can trigger the release of different hormones in your brain. Serotonin is sometimes called the happy hormone and is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.
At night, darker lighting triggers the brain to make another hormone called melatonin, the sleep hormone. If you work until later with the help of artificial light you can suppress the melatonin hormone, which will not help you to have a good night's sleep.
Studies have found that continually suppressing melatonin can increase health problems, so the best solution is to try and create a good routine to your working day and have an evening rest time so that your hormones won’t be disturbed. If you are struggling to sleep, try and get more orange light into your room after 6pm. The increased secretion of melatonin hormones in your body will make you feel calmer and more sleepy.
Q: How does lighting affect our mood during the day?
A: We all perceive lighting differently and its effects are individual to each person. It also depends on age and varies from hemisphere and country we live in. Some people prefer a warm colour than the cool colour and vice-versa.
There is a very strong link with light and our emotional state, with feeling sleeping and alert as said above. Health considerations include the influence of blue light on sleep, other circadian-mediated symptoms and prescribed treatments that target the circadian rhythms - physical, mental and behavioural movements that follow a daily cycle 24hours.
Q: How does our Circadian Rhythm affect our health?
A: Until the invention of the electric light, the sun was the only source of light for humans. In the evening people were simply in the dark, other than perhaps having light from a flickering candle or fireplace.
In our time, the view from space shows that large parts of the Earth are illuminated. That is pretty much fine, we can read longer, work longer and stay out longer, but we may also be paying a price for all the artificial light and it may affect some people more strongly than others.
Too much light at the wrong time of day can damage the body’s circadian rhythm – our body’s own internal clock. A continually disrupted circadian rhythm can make us physically and mentally ill, which is why it is so important to think about how and where we work, at home and in the office, and how our space is lighted.
For more information on how best to light your office workspace please contact Fabiana.
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