What impact does sleep deprivation and the quality of light really have on an individual’s health? The experts at V-TAC provide us with more details.
Regular readers of PE will know that we’ve previously written and talked about healthy lighting and why it matters. Throughout the years, more studies have shown how light largely affects people’s health – specifically their circadian rhythm, quality of sleep, and ultimately their day-to-day lives.
In a very informative episode of the podcast On Road to Resilience entitled ‘Bright Days, Dark Nights’, Dr. Mariana Figueiro – the Director of the Light and Health Research Centre at the Icahn School of Medicine – talks about how the amount and colour of light we get exposed to throughout the day can impact our overall health and quality of life. Currently, she studies how to use light to improve human health, including for patients with Alzheimer’s, cancer, and Parkinson’s.
Lighting and general health
On the podcast, when discussing the correlation between lighting and the general health of individuals, Mariana states: “Entrainment is the synchronisation of your biological clock to the external watch. So if you don’t get that regular morning light, you lose that entrainment and that will lead to circadian disruption.
“Circadian disruption has been linked to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer. The first thing you’ll often see is disruption in your sleep and it’s from there that you can start to see long-term consequences and more serious health effects.”
Speaking about her work with Alzheimer’s patients, Mariana continued: “In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, sleep disruption can be both a cause and symptom of the disease itself. One of the main issues with these patients is that they’re as likely to be awake as they are to be asleep, so they don’t have a consolidated eight hours of sleep at night.
“Instead, they may be sleeping for three hours, awake for four hours, and sleeping again for two hours. That’s obviously very hard on carers, who may be trying to lead a normal life but have to deal with a spouse or parent who is up at night.
“One experiment we carried out in this area was in nursing homes. Generally, a nursing home environment will consist of a constant dim light, which is the same 24 hours per day – you don’t turn the lights off at night and you don’t turn them up during the day. This, however, can cause even greater sleep disruption for patients. To counter this, we added more lights during the day and increased the overall light-dark pattern, so the set-up was more robust.
“The results have been incredible! We’ve seen a significant improvement in patients’ sleep so they’re staying asleep much longer, and this is helping to reduce agitation and depressive symptoms they may experience.
“Over a six-month research period we saw a continuous decline in sleep disruption, which in turn had a positive impact on depression and agitation. The carers also observed that patients were calmer, they were eating better, and were easier to deal with – all because they were sleeping better.”
These comments from Dr. Figueiro support the notion that light has been instrumental in the betterment of the quality of life, be it in hospitals, homes, schools or offices.
This is one of the reasons why the V-TAC brand has also kept up with the technologies that will make lighting not just a necessity but a fully customisable experience. Through our continuous commitment to the utilisation of light to improve quality of life, we’ve invested our R&D efforts to launch three more LED lighting categories with tuneable white light:
1. LED Batten Fittings
The new range of colour tuneable T8 style integrated fittings are made of PC + Iron and come in four variations – Standard, MS (Microwave Sensor), EM (Emergency), and MS+EM (Microwave Sensor + Emergency) – to meet various functionalities for every project. All models come with a built-in toggle switch between colour temperatures and wattages.
2. LED Mini Panels
Ideal for general indoor lighting purposes, the new range of colour-changeable mini panels come with a non-dimmable driver. Designed with clips for easy and quick installation they’re available in 6, 9, 12 and 18W variations with corresponding sizes for various lighting requirements.
3. LED Big Panels
Besides the new colour tuning feature via a DIP switch, these new big panels also have an impressive lumen-per-watt rating for maximum efficiency. Built with TP(a) rated thermoplastic, it means that they can be used without restrictions and are fully certified and compliant with the UK Building Regulations.
Browse V-TAC’s complete range of tuneable lighting solutions here