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Using Circadian Lighting to Help Your Mental and Physical Health

USING CIRCADIAN LIGHTING TO HELP YOUR MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH
 March 15, 2021 |  Home Maintenance, Home Decor |  bedroom, living room, electrical, lighting

Natural lighting in your home provides numerous benefits for your well-being. It gives you crucial Vitamin D, helps ward off seasonal affective disorder (SAD), reduces stress, and much more. Natural light also ties in to your sleep schedule and how well you fall and stay asleep. If you aren’t getting enough light in your home, you might be able to artificially substitute it.

Circadian Rhythms
You may have heard about a circadian rhythm before, but if you haven’t or aren’t quite sure what it is, here’s a quick rundown: A circadian rhythm is essentially your body’s internal clock that carries out different functions during a 24-hour period. The most commonly discussed rhythm is the one that controls your sleep-wake cycle. Your body uses cues such as the intensity of daylight to know when it needs to energize you or when it needs to begin the sleep process. It's important to maintain a consistent cycle, or else you can experience conditions like insomnia. The production of melatonin, a key “sleep ingredient,” can be hindered if your body’s rhythm becomes disrupted.

How Rhythms Get Interrupted
Now that you’re more familiar with your circadian rhythms’ various purposes, you need to identify what could be causing you to toss and turn, then wake up groggy in the morning. Each person is different, so what’s causing your problems is likely a combination of factors that’s unique to you. The most common are: 

- Medication
- Low exposure to daylight
- Caffeine or alcohol prior to bed
- Uncomfortable room temperature
- Smoking 

While a change in lighting and pre-bedtime habits can help, don’t make any drastic lifestyle changes without consulting a medical professional.

Change Your Lights to Improve Your Life
Swapping out old lighting fixtures in your home for adjustable ones can keep your rhythm on track and help you get that good night’s rest. Your body needs the combination of blue and warm lighting to know when it has to be alert and when to start slowing down. Only having one will make it hard for your body to balance the production of melatonin and cortisol (the hormone that wakes you up). Circadian lighting is programmed to shift between hues and intensity based on the time of day. Things like sunrise clocks gradually shine light in your room to make it feel like you’re waking up to the sun, replacing that annoying alarm. If you live in a part of the world that experiences long, gray winters, you can still have that sunny summer wake-up call.

Shading and Space Planning
In addition to smarter lighting, incorporating smarter blinds and shades, along with an optimized floorplan can further aid your circadian rhythm. Programmable shades with sunrise lighting give the effect of morning sunshine and allow you to wake up more gradually. These shades can also be adjusted during the daytime to get you the maximum amount of sunlight. Arranging your home to the sun’s path through the day helps as well. If you’re still working from home, putting your office in a sunny spot will increase your productivity and focus. You’ll also reduce the headaches and eyestrain that come from staring at a monitor for long hours. 

Proper sleep plays a big role in your mental and physical health. Cells repair themselves, it alleviates stress, you’re more focused, and so much more. But if your circadian rhythm is thrown off by a lack of sunlight, it can be hard to get any shut-eye. Using adjustable lighting in different rooms can supplement the sun’s rays that a body needs. Try these tips in your own home!

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