Light is important. It helps plants grow, produces energy and sustains life. But how does light affect our health?
The human body operates in a 24-hour cycle called circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are generated by the body clock. The body clock is especially useful for adjusting when to wake up and when to sleep.
Light from the sun provides a spectrum of red, orange, yellow, green, and blue light. The light at the blue end of the spectrum is especially useful for telling the internal clock what time it is.
Why is blue light so important?
Blue light is processed by the general sunlight receptor known as melanopsin in the eye. The cells of the retina, which contain melanopsin, are connected to a small area at the base of the brain, including the biological clock, but also to other areas that help control mood and maintain alertness.
When these photoreceptors process blue light, it signals that it is time to be alert. At night, it not only warns you, but also tricks your watch into thinking it’s still daytime and suppresses the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Therefore, it is important to reduce exposure to blue light at night before bedtime.
Artificial lighting on work, home, mobile, computer and television screens can have a serious impact on sleep quality and general health. This is because the body is not intended to be exposed to high levels of blue light until late at night.
How to use light the right way
A joint project led by the CRC (Alertness CRC) for Awakening, Safety and Productivity and involving Versalux Lighting Systems and Monash University will use this information on blue light to identify new lighting product specifications and support them by science. It has led to a new lighting system.
MelaGen is an interactive lighting system that can emit both blue-rich and blue-depleted light at optimal levels.
This system can be used in several industries to increase alertness and improve sleep quality. One of the key facilities that could benefit from this lighting system is the hospital.
Installing this custom-made lighting system in a hospital means that clinical areas, nurse stations, and non-clinical staff areas can have blue-rich light to raise the attention of healthcare professionals. I will. This is a great benefit for shift workers who may be experiencing fatigue. In other areas for patients, there is lighting that changes from blue-rich light throughout the day and ends with blue-depleted light at night, creating a soothing effect and promoting quality sleep.
A good night’s sleep and a healthy circadian rhythm can improve your immune system and help your body fight illnesses and infections and recover from injuries. Therefore, installing these lighting systems in hospitals may ultimately help people recover faster.
In the current situation where healthcare is at the forefront, we can better understand the importance of implementing such a system.
This technology has been introduced in the neonatal ward of the Women’s Children’s Hospital in Adelaide. Introducing a light source with varying daytime color spectrum and intensity to more closely mimic the natural day / night light cycle, allowing parents or visitors of children in the ward to maintain a natural biological clock. will do so.
This ultimately has a calming effect on patients and visiting families, making their hospital stays and final return home more comfortable.
It’s exciting to see this research in action, but it’s just the beginning. Over the next decade, we hope that all hospitals will install these lighting systems to help patients recover.
Given that much of the light we are exposed to is artificial, we need to have a deeper understanding of how it affects us. Use our knowledge, research and technology to take advantage of the benefits of light and improve your quality of life.