There is more to light than meets the eye — a lot more, in fact. While light enables us to see our world in vivid color and stunning detail, we have learned that light also regulates many biological responses in people which are not associated with our sense of sight, including an ‘internal clock’ in our bodies that makes us alert during the day and sleepy at night. The daily changes in our physical, mental and behavioral states that respond to a light-and-dark cycle is commonly known as our circadian rhythm. Circadian lighting aims to keep the body’s internal clock aligned with the 24-hour diurnal/nocturnal cycle by emitting bright bluish light during the day to suppress the melatonin that our brains produce as a natural sleep aid.
Considering we spend so much of our time in lit buildings, it is vital that we explore the possibilities for circadian-centric lighting design within our spaces. There’s a great deal of excitement about the potential wellbeing impacts that this new understanding gives to the lighting design of interior spaces. With LED light sources comes the ability to dim and colour mix, and together this trio has driven the installation of new dynamic lighting systems that can mimic the spectrum of daylight… circadian lighting.
You may already be familiar with this concept: a lighting system, usually for offices (but sometimes schools or care environments) that carries out a colour temperature and illumination change throughout the day. A circadian lighting system is, in essence, an artificial ‘sunrise to sunset’ that travels through illuminance levels and colour spectrums from a warm colour spectrum (2,700K) to brighter, cooler (6,500K and upwards) and back again.
Today’s advancements in LED lighting technology are leading the way for design by providing lighting professionals with the tools they need to improve our quality of life.