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How Lighting Affects Your Emotional, Psychological and Physical Well-Being

Story time!

Amy was a victim of constant exhaustion, while still battling to fall asleep at night. She would spend hours hopelessly looking at her phone. These habits and feelings were beginning to affect her work negatively. She felt a significant decrease in productivity. She looked forward to going on runs or going out with friends, but aside from those blips of bliss, she was lethargic, restless, anxious, and fought to fall asleep and get out of bed in the morning.

As lighting specialists, we’ve observed cases like Amy’s and unfortunately, they’re becoming more and more common across America. Previously, our model was based on customer input, we provided what they asked for. But in today’s rapidly changing world, that alone does not suffice.

“We see ourselves asking our clients more and more about their problems, on their daily routines, how they feel, their physical activities, their ups and downs of the day.” - J. Gabbert, Co-Founder CodeLumen

Truthfully, we have an inside joke of referring to ourselves as “lighting shrinks.” Now, rather than waiting to observe and react to the psychological effects of our lighting, we reverse engineer it. We do this by first identifying our clients’ lifestyles so that we have a product that satisfies their daily routine. But beyond our lifestyles, how can lighting affect our emotional and physical well-being. Well, through countless first-hand experiences and some research, we’ve found some answers. The good news is that they’re easy solutions. The bad news? It’s hard to detect these problems, since they lie beneath our subconscious. Let’s identify and observe five key characteristics of lighting and how it influences your quality of life.

#1 - Lumen (Power of Light)

As our research is progressing, we’re discovering that lighting deeply impacts our lives. Studies are finding that lighting has numerous biological, mental, and emotional factors, and it can directly contribute to our mood and productivity.

Studies have gone further to show that lighting can affect appetite. Participants were found to eat at a slower pace and eat lighter meals in rooms with bright lights. Conversely, they overate in darker spaces with low lumen output lighting.

Research has also helped to determine what type of lighting should be used in offices in order to develop happier, more productive work environments. Studies are finding that poor lighting can be detrimental to productivity at work, especially with low lumen output lighting. However, lighting can be too bright at work, as research found that excessively bright fluorescent lights can trigger headaches and migraines, and employees have been shown to be dissatisfied in these conditions. Appropriate lumen output is vitally significant for your wellness and productivity. Having the freedom to adjust your lighting throughout your day is the best way to support your natural rhythm and increase happiness at home and at work.

#2 - Color Temperature Control (from yellow white to blue white)

Every of us is unique, we all lead different lives, therefore, our lighting shouldn’t all be the same. Today’s technology allows us the opportunity to personalize color temperature according to our individual preferences. This temperature control technology means that you can control the color temperature of your light and instantly change from day white 6000K down to a warm sodium lamp 2200K and any desired number in between.

The ways that color temperature can influence your life might surprise you. There is a photoreceptor in our eyes that controls human biorhythms according to daytime and nighttime. These eye receptors are sensitive to blue light, which confuses our internal human clock. This blue light comes in forms you’re all to familiar with: your phone, your computer, your TV, even your home lighting. These blue light sources can falsely signal to our bodies that it’s daytime when it’s not. Apple took this problem seriously and in 2017 added Night Shift to all their devices, which reduces blue light and enhances orange hues at night. If we have this technology on our phones, shouldn’t our homes have Night Shift as well? And to start day, how could a Morning Shift affect our morning positivity and energy?

#3 - Beam Angle Control

Another game-changing innovation offered in the next generation of lighting is adjustable beam angle. In just a few seconds, the light angle of your fixtures can be controlled from 4 to 120 degrees, which can completely transform the dimension of any space or object instantly. This gives you the ability to set a soft ray of light, protecting your eyes from the harmful direct rays of lights. Imagine that in a restaurant, you could narrow the beam over the table to avoid glare, increase customer comfort, and encourage a positive dining experience. And then later, you could use this same table to display a wedding cake, and instantly adjust to a wider beam angle. With beam control lighting fixtures, this is all now possible. Beam control can make objects stick out more, which increases our sense of comfort amongst our surroundings.

#4 - Filters and Color Changing (RGB) Control

Filters and Color Changing (RGB) causes dramatic effects that can evoke positive emotions, enhance comfort, and alter the mood. Imagine light fixtures, connected to your smartwatch, that detect an increase in your heartbeat and adjusts subtly to make you feel more relaxed. Below is the shortlist of colors and how they affect our emotions:

Red = Passion, Jealousy, Fear

Pink = Love, Light and Airy

Yellow = Poppy, Bright and Happy

Amber = Awakening, Natural and Raw

Green = Natural, Organic, Calming, Earthy

Aqua = Gentle, Simple, Water

Blue = Calm, Concentration

Additionally, exposure to blue light during the day can increase our awareness and alertness. A recent study found that participants who were exposed to short wavelength, high energy blue light had higher levels of productivity and were more apt to complete cognitive tasks quicker and more accurately than the control group.

#5 - Connectivity

As hinted at in the previous section, smart lighting can connect to IoT devices and collect and interact with the data from your personal devices, such as your iPhone. This connectivity offers multiple areas of real time monitoring, such as: physical activity, health, temperature, season, music, and time of day. Your lighting can then automatically adapt to these inputs to develop a positive psychological effect. Currently, all these characteristics must be altered manually. But soon all these features have the potential to be fully automated. This technological advancement will aesthetically augment living spaces, but even more importantly, it will move us towards a healthier and happier life. Read more about connectivity and new lighting hacks in our other article The Best 2019 Lighting Hacks That Will Change Your Life Forever.

You might think that lighting is all we do, hopefully this article proved different. When we receive a project, we evaluate psychological, physical, and emotional effects that our lighting will produce. It’s a principle that we apply to each and every project and we are eager to know how we can help you. Let us work with you to incorporate the psychology of lighting on your next project. Feel free to reach out to our team

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