As an expert warns that we’re shortening our life expectancy by not getting enough sleep, Greenlite’s Lighting Doctor explains how human-centric lighting can help
Here at Greenlite HQ, we know great lighting has a powerful impact on our waking day. But did you know that it also has a profound effect on our sleep? By getting our exposure to light right, we can stimulate our body clocks into a healthy pattern of feeling alert by day and sleepy by night.
Whether it’s small children or a stressful job keeping us awake, we all feel groggy when we don’t get enough shut-eye. The Internet is peppered with anecdotes from the sleep deprived, like the woman who found herself typing her PIN onto the microwave keypad.
Sleeplessness is serious
But recent studies suggest sleeplessness has more severe consequences. Sleep guru, Professor Matthew Walker, believes a “catastrophic sleep-loss epidemic” is putting us at risk of heart disease, obesity, mental health problems and Alzheimer’s. As he bluntly says: “it shortens your life expectancy.” Shockingly, only around a third of adults in the developed world get the eight hours recommended by the World Health Organisation.
What stops us sleeping?
Hectic jobs, alcohol and our love of caffeine all erode our sleep. And how many of us check our smartphones in bed? We jolt our brains into wakefulness, just as they should be winding down.
Getting light right
But the good news is that, by giving our bodies’ access to the right light at the right time, we can help reset our body clocks, ensuring we’re wakeful by day and drowsy by night.
The latest human centric LED lighting systems are ideal for this. By day at work, they can be set to closely replicate daylight and help our bodies to feel fully alert. Then, once evening draws in and once at home, they can be dimmed, which helps our body wind down towards sleep. Systems can also be set so they automatically adjust to our needs throughout the day, starting it with a stimulating blue light that ensures we’re raring to go.
By putting sensitive lighting at the top of the agenda at work and at home, businesses can create a more productive daytime environment and help staff get better rest by night. As Professor Walker says, “it’s now clear that a solid’s night sleep is essential for a long and healthy life”