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Lighting design for better health and wellbeing

Good quality lighting design is essential for better health and wellbeing. Studies have shown that good quality lighting conditions correlate with improved productivity in education and work settings. It also improves the mood and therefore mental health of those using the space in their homes too.

Poor quality lighting conditions cause distraction and can have a negative impact on how well people work and learn, as well as causing discomfort and fatigue. In part this may be due to a disruption of circadian rhythms.

What are circadian rhythms and circadian lighting?

Circadian rhythms affect humans, animals and plants. They are physical, mental and behavioural changes that are subject to a 24 hour cycle, almost like an internal clock. They respond to light and dark so your circadian rhythms can be affected by artificial lighting in a room.

Circadian lighting is a strategically designed system that addresses circadian rhythms and is believed to positively affect health, wellbeing and productivity by minimising that impact of electric light through intensity tuning, colour tuning and stimulus tuning.

In other words, adjusting the colour temperature, changing the intensity of light in daylight and night time hours and programming the stimulus of blue light wavelengths to limit the suppression of melatonin, the natural hormone that controls sleep cycles and ultimately affects mood.

Healthy lighting systems from Detail Lighting

Detail Lighting specialise in the design and supply of LED lighting. Knowing the long term effects of good quality lighting schemes, our designs are focused on lighting and wellbeing. We can incorporate circadian lighting into our designs by adjusting the intensity of lighting depending on the task at hand.

For example, in offices we avoid sharp contrast in lighting levels. If the light over a desk is bright, but the light in the distance is dim, it can cause fatigue because the eyes are constantly adjusting to the extreme contrast in intensity.

Our lighting designs sometimes provide variable colour temperature through controlled dimming systems that allow users to control their own environment in both commercial and residential spaces.

At Detail Lighting we work with designers, architects, developers and contractors to ensure that health and lighting are intrinsically linked on every project.

We can provide a full project service to include design, specification and supply through our inhouse engineers and field-based technical managers.

By being involved in the entire project from beginning to end we can ensure that our lighting designs meet all the healthy lighting criteria laid out in initial plans and specifications.

How to achieve healthy lighting

Use LED bulbs. LEDs don’t contain mercury and produce just a small amount of UV light compared to incandescent and halogen bulbs. The nervous system and kidneys are sensitive to mercury exposures, and overexposure to ultraviolet lighting can cause serious health issues.

When designing interior spaces, create as much opportunity as possible for natural light to come through. Once a space is occupied, keep blinds and curtains open during daylight hours. Natural light is the most healthy lighting available!

Avoid exposure to glare. Lighting that is too bright can cause headaches and general discomfort. In commercial spaces, visual display units should be arranged so as to avoid reflected glare.

Keep all lighting well maintained. Faulty flickering lights can cause headaches and epileptic seizures while failed lighting can create dark spaces which can be unsafe.

Higher UV exposure from the likes of fluorescent lamps such as desk lamps should be avoided and replaced by LED . They should have a protective diffuser cover.

Use task lighting rather than ambient lighting for reading, drawing, sewing and similar activities. Variable lighting improves productivity and efficiency because a task light is directed specifically at the task whereas ambient lighting is illuminating the whole room of which only a tiny proportion is directed at the task.

Other variable lighting such as floor lamps and table lamps can be used to create a layered lighting scheme that is less overwhelming than constantly being under ambient light.

Mirrors can be positioned to reflect natural light coming into a room.

Overhead recessed lighting provides indirect light that is distributed evenly throughout a room and can minimise dark corners for example.

Can we help?

For a no-obligation chat about lighting and wellbeing, please contact us or email at, or by calling 01908 613256.