Lighting Plays a Critical Role in a Healthy Space
Why take a holistic approach to lighting?
The right color and brightness can make us feel alert and energized, or make it hard to concentrate and disrupt our productivity. Natural light, artificial light, and reflected light all play a part in how our body and mind perceive the space we are in and have an impact on our cognitive function and performance.
Designing a space that features natural light and high light-reflective ceilings will improve indoor environmental quality. The proper integrated lighting will also improve building occupant well-being. Explore the impact, importance, and benefits of light as it relates to IEQ.
The Impact Of Light
The Importance Of Light
Light Affects Circadian Rhythms
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) recognizes that light plays an important role in regulating the body's internal clock. A better understanding of lighting characteristics is required for optimal circadian rhythms.
The Color of Light
- Blue light has the strongest impact. Exposure to blue light (and white light, which contains blue light) during the sensitive period can make it difficult for you to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- Exposure to white light during the day can have positive effects, including boosting alertness and mood.
- Yellow and orange light have little effect on the clock so you can use a very dim yellow or orange light at night.
- Red light has no effect on the circadian clock, so you can use a dim red light at night.
"Daily patterns of light and dark are instrumental to all parts of our body, to do the right thing at the right time."
- Mariana G. Figueiro, Ph.D. | Director, Lighting and Health Research Center
The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai – Light and Health Research Center
The team at the Light and Health Research Center (LHRC) is working to advance the well-being of people and the planet through the science of light. Typically, lighting in the built environment is designed to meet the needs of the human visual system, often at the expense of the human circadian system. Research is ongoing in areas like office lighting and productivity, adolescents and classrooms, older adults and elder care, and alertness and performance.
Alertness and Task Performance
Alertness and task performance are acutely influenced by exposure to light at any time of day or night. Research at the Center focuses on characterizing and specifying light for promoting alertness and performance in a wide range of populations and settings. U.S. Navy submariners, metropolitan railroad dispatchers, and night-shift nurses have benefitted from research and lighting solutions developed and implemented by the Center’s researchers.
Learn more about the Light and Health Research Center.