Why does light matter?
The days are getting shorter and we’re all preparing for what “experts” predict will be an exceptionally cold winter, at least in the more northern parts of the country. So, if you’re going to be stuck spending more time in your home, you might as well enjoy it. Even more, it won’t just be you—the friends and family that you’ll be entertaining over the holidays will also appreciate your attention to proper lighting, even if they don’t realize it.
What does light mean for your health?
We all know that light has a utilitarian, functional purpose. But it also affects our internal clock that governs our sleep. Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you feel more alert in the morning or late at night? Your energy level has to do with your personal “circadian rhythm.”According to Harvard Medical School, circadian rhythms affect your sleep patterns, hormones, body temperature, and eating habits. When they’re out of sync, they might also cause health issues and lead to problems like diabetes, obesity, and seasonal affective disorder or depression.
The biggest factor affecting your circadian rhythm is light. Your body wants to sleep when it’s dark and awaken when it’s light, since your master clock is linked directly to the nerves in your eyes. When daylight fades, your eyes signal your brain to release more melatonin, a hormone that makes you feel sleepy. And when the sun rises again, those same signals from your eyes tell the brain to keep those melatonin levels down.
What does this mean for your home?
The goal in what we call “circadian-attuned” lighting is to, as much as possible, replicate the arc of the sun. You can achieve this using the following three concepts in lighting:
1. Color Temperature
Just as blue light from computer screens, tablets, and smart phones signal your brain that it’s time to be up and alert, warmer, golden light signals your brain to rest. So, in the morning, especially if you want to wake up gradually, use more warm, golden light. In the middle of the day, and especially in offices and other daytime settings, choose bluer, whiter lights. And in the evening, choose more sunset, warm or red hues.
2. Position and Intensity
Today, most homes are constructed with ceiling lights in every room. Unfortunately, overhead lights alone can create areas of high intensity and glare, with areas of low intensity with unpleasant shadows and dark spots. To combat this, try layering—incorporate multiple light sources at different heights to create an attractive, appealing, and more flattering glow.
3. Style and Taste
Finally, make sure your choice of lighting fixtures reflects your own personal style. Are you traditional or contemporary? Do you want to be trendy, or stick with a classic? Do you prefer brassy or shiny finishes, or a subtler brushed or even matte look? Think about these as you coordinate your approach to layered light, and always remember that one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways of updating a space is through well-considered lighting pieces.
Your friends will notice the difference.
Proper light does more than create a healthier environment for you and your family, it sets a tone and a mood. As we enter the holidays, you’ll probably be looking forward to welcoming lots of guests. The color, positioning, and intensity of your lighting can make your home feel warm and homey at one moment, or bright and energy-packed at another. Matching what’s appropriate for the moment will not only create the right feel to create great memories in your spaces, but also invite plenty of compliments. And who doesn’t want those?
Sound complicated? (It’s easy!)
While all this might sound complex and laborious (turning lights on and off, adjusting, tweaking colors) it really doesn’t have to be. The smart home controls currently on the market can enable you to effortlessly change the look and feel of your spaces with lighting by a simple voice command. Even better, an intelligent schedule can adjust your lighting automatically throughout the day, so your spaces will be tuned to your needs at all times. (Let Alexa or Google do it for you!)
It may seem daunting, but you don’t need to be tied into one system or product line, or even spend a lot of money to get started. With just a little guidance from the team at Dominion, you can create a system that can grow and adjust with your own schedule and budget.
Save 20% during our Fall Sale!
Now through November 2nd, save 20% on all decorative lighting and fans at Dominion Electric Supply, and let one of our experienced and knowledgeable lighting designers help you create the perfect, healthy, and compliment-worthy environment for your home.