Light and Human Health

The articles written by Edelstein and Beil both look into the ramifications of the various wavelengths of light on the health of the human body.  Most of the research seems to be in the early stages and mostly concerned with the color of light.  Red light seems to be more calming, such as we see in a sunset.  More blue hues in light are more associated with cognitive thought, being more awake, and more responsive.

The human body is pre-programmed to respond to light.  We have a circadian rhythm to the rise and set of the sun, which makes us feel awake or sleepy.  These feelings are controlled by the production of melatonin, which rises as light diminishes.  Melatonin helps us feel sleepy and helps us sleep and some studies show that increased exposure to artificial light upsets our bodies melatonin balance.  When our bodies are deprived of natural light for extended periods of time Season affective disorder (SAD) can occur.

We can learn that the control of illumination is very important.  Our bodies need natural light to function properly.  Our circadian rhythm relies on this to help us function.  Creating synthetic environments that conform to the traditional light wavelengths and time frames may help us overcome some of these obstacles.  Healthcare lighting seems to be one of the most important areas for this change to be made.  Taking steps to reduce circadian disruption will reduce the negative effects on human health and function and allow the creation of  work places that are healthy and spaces that are healing.

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