Your Health and Lighting
For optimal health, your indoor lighting should contain the full wavelength spectrum that is found in natural sunlight.
Many studies have shown that poor lighting has even contributed to a range of health disorders, particularly seasonal affective disorder. Such disturbances with one’s circadian rhythm (the body’s inner clock) can lead to health problems such as depression and sleep disorders. Your circadian rhythm controls the timing of sleep, hormone production, body temperature and other biological functions. Seasonal affective disorder especially affects people who live in far northern climates, where natural lighting is scarce during the winter months.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.)
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression, in which symptoms of sadness, sleepiness and sluggishness coincide with lack of daylight from shorter fall and winter days.
The symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder include: change in appetite or weight, sleep problems, lack of energy, memory loss, inability to make decisions, problems concentrating, low self-esteem, lack of interest in or enjoyment of activities.
Light therapy is effective relief for SAD, insomnia, sleep disorders, and various other ailments- after all, if light maintains a large role in our health, then diminished light could mean poorer health!
Most Light Therapy is through the use of bright white Full Spectrum lights, usually in the form of light boxes equipped with fluorescent bulbs that produce at least 10,000 lux of light. Sitting or working close to these lights for 15-30 minutes a day during the winter months triggers a natural process in our bodies, regulating our health and the way we feel.
The Mechanics of Light Therapy
As light enters your eyes, electrical impulses are sent to your hypothalamus, the part of the brain that controls circadian rhythm, among other automatic functions of the body such as body temperature, breathing, blood pressure, and digestion to name a few. During the darker months, we can experience a shift in our circadian rhythm and require an external source of light to trigger normal processes.