Circadian Lighting

November 2022

Circadian lighting is the use of artificial light to support health by minimizing the effect on our natural rhythm.  It has been found to enhance the well-being of seniors and children, and to reduce falls.

Our natural or circadian rhythm revolves around a 24-hour period and regulates sleep patterns.  Colour and temperature changes throughout the day, which impact our daily routines, can be enhanced by lighting.  It helps us to stay awake or to relax and fall asleep.  For most, the deepest sleep happens around 2 a.m., and 10 a.m. is when we are most alert.  Part of the reason has to do with how lighting changes.

Warmer light tones in the evening help us to relax.  Brighter light tones in the morning and throughout the day help keep us alert.

Installing circadian lighting where people spend most of their time can have a positive impact.  Adjusting common area lighting, and in-suite, along these lines help keep residents alert during daytime hours and more relaxed into the evening.  Provide the brightest (white) light in the morning, a subtler white light in the afternoon and a dimmed warm light in the evening.  This pattern helps reinforce waking and sleeping time.

Accidents can be reduced.  When getting up in the middle of the night, night vision can be lost when turning on a bright light.  When lights go off it can be difficult to return to bed.  Many falls occur when one is unable to clearly see furniture or walls in a dark room.  One solution is to incorporate low-level amber night lights into spaces travelled through at night.

Tunable light bulbs, fixtures and light-strips, and wireless dimmers, switches and motion sensors can all be utilized to incorporate varied light intensity throughout the day and night.

Everyone is happier when they sleep better and are more alert during the day.  Improved lighting plays an important role that can be implemented within suites and common areas.