Light and well being

Quality of sleep, performance and well-being are closely connected. Effects of lighting on the circadian rhythm, besides the aforementioned factors, also have an impact on general well-being.

It is important that phases of regeneration and relaxation are included along with activating effects.

The impact of the seasons on a person's mood can serve as a natural example here. Mood and overall well-being are significantly better during the summer months compared to those in the winter. In more extreme cases, mood deterioration and even depression can occur during the winter months (seasonal affective disorder, SAD). A preferred treatment method for SAD is light therapy, where serotonin and melatonin release in the patient is triggered by intense artificial lighting. Targeted additional light exposure can also help to improve the mood of people not affected by SAD.

Melanopically effective light is especially important for elderly people. This need can be met by frequent stays outdoors. However, for most older people this is not possible to the required extent due to health reasons. In people who mostly remain indoors, the melanopic receptors are not stimulated sufficiently and the inner circadian system is not synchronised with the day’s progression. The consequences of this are mood and sleep disorders, increased unrest and depressive states.

For residents of retirement homes and nursing facilities, it was possible to suppress the sleeping hormone during the day by using additional intense lighting, e.g. by switching on a bright light ceiling in common areas and thus to shifting daytime tiredness to it's natural time at night. In place of general tiredness during the day as well as sleeplessness and unrest at night, these older people returned to a waking state during the day and corresponding tiredness at night due to intermittent high light doses.

Emotional well-being can also be influenced positively through light. In contrast to the purely melanopic effects of light, the psychological component of light perception plays an important role here. Using light, it is possible to create inviting, attractive spaces which can improve well-being via their emotional impact. Light can create dramatic effects and capture attention (e.g. in the display window area of a shop). Light can have calming and relaxing effects (e.g. in hotel rooms or break rooms). On the other hand, light can showcase offices or meeting rooms in an aesthetic fashion and thus increase well-being or even identification and satisfaction with the work place.