Apart from its central role in vision itself, light is important for many physiological and psychological processes for us humans. It can improve concentration, affect our mood and our biological functions. In healthcare, light is especially important. Optimal use of natural and artificial light can be vital since light has a direct impact on the health of patients and staff. Here are some examples on how awareness of our innate biological clock can ease the care situation for patients.
Mimicking the sun
Independent studies have shown that there is a direct relationship between daylight and our sense of well-being. Light has a positive effect on the human body and controls essential processes. Lack of daylight for long periods of time causes sleep problems, because the production of sleep hormone melatonin and stress hormone cortisol is disrupted. These hormones control the circadian rhythm, and lighting concepts that are in harmony with our internal clock support our well-being.
Patients that are admitted to care for a longer period of time might lose track of the natural rhythm of the day. Therefore an adaption of the artificial light, to mimic the natural daylight, helps the brain to set the biological clock. Our circadian rhythm is controlled by the light’s intensity and spectral composition – where the blue part of the spectrum plays the biggest role. During the afternoon and evening, the light levels are reduced and the light becomes warmer. The lighting follows recommendations for light that supports the circadian rhythm and prepares the body for the night by permitting melatonin production.