A study reveals the positive effects of circadian lighting in Danish night nurses

Light has strongly influenced the evolution of life on earth. As widely appreciated, light allows us to generate images of our environment. However, light also influences behaviours that are essential for our health and quality of life. Irregular lights environments lead to problems in circadian rhythms and sleep, which eventually cause mood and learning deficits.

The advent of artificial lighting has allowed us to utilize more hours of the day and create disruptive schedules such as shift work. The light could play an essential role in modulating mood. Scientists believe that exposure to bright, blue-rich white light during the day, and to softer, amber hues at night, helps restore the human body’s natural circadian rhythm.

Lighting is important in relation to the body’s circadian rhythm. Chromaviso, who are specialized in health-promoting lighting in the healthcare sector, Aarhus University Hospital and Rigshospitalet Copenhagen decided to work together on developing a research based and cost effective circadian light effect.

The study was one of many early examples of the emerging concept of human-centric lighting, which calibrates lights at varying frequencies, spectral power, and intensities in order to suit different tasks or times of the day.  People who are hospitalized and staff that works night shifts have a circadian disorder.

In this pilot deployment of specially-tuned circadian lights that stripped out blue wavelengths at night to create an amber that used 26 nurses that worked under those lights generally reported a better quality of sleep than those in a control group that used conventional white illumination.

”The preliminary observations in relation to the effects on the circadian lighting from Chromaviso is that the patients are more calm during the night, less agitated, and that the light settings without the white light disturb the patients minimally and doesn’t wake them. Meanwhile the staff can perform their patient related care tasks around the clock,” explains clinical nurse specialist, Ph.d. Leanne Langhorn.

The overall set of responses in the nurses diaries set of responses and personal anecdotes that suggested that the circadian system did indeed induce betters sleep patterns.

“There is a tendency for nurses who have been exposed to circadian lighting to generally experience better sleep, as they fall asleep more easily and their sleep is calmer,” Langhorn said. “They generally find it easier to wake up in the morning and feel more rested after three days in circadian lighting, compared to the control group.”

One of the main links between blue light and sleep is that blue has been proven to suppress melatonin, a hormone related to sleep. Exposure to blue frecuencies at night -such as from gadgets as well as from bulbs and luminaires – is thus generally regarded as something to avoid.

In contrast, blue light can also have a positive effect because it is known to release a pigment called melanopsin that stimulates the brain and is thus considered good for alertness during certain waking hours.

The knowledge and results from the project, including a health-promoting lighting design have resulted in the fact that other hospitals in Scandinavia have chosen to install circadian lights.

 

Picture and information source: https://chromaviso.com/en/ 

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