Can Coloured LED Lighting Help You Sleep…?

Philipp Schuster
22nd March 2013 in Know How

LED Coloured Light

Most of us know the benefits of good lighting at home, don’t we? Well thought-out illumination ensures that areas and items we want lit up for display and decoration, can be. Correct lighting levels mean there’s no straining to see or, at the other end of spectrum, being half-blinded. And, of course, there’s the basic matter of safety in the home (you know – not walking into things!).

If you’re familiar with Loxone and what we bring to Home Automation, you’ll also know the vast advanced possibilities of lighting in your home. Different pre-set scenes, automatic control, precise dimming, all-off functions, app control, energy and money saving… (and so much more). But how about this for a new one? Using to certain colours of light to affect behaviour – even help you fall asleep?!

New research commissioned by NASA (no less!) suggest that specific shades of light at specific brightnesses can manipulate our emotions and behaviour, even encouraging relaxation and sleep. We’re not talking about in a strange ‘sci-fi brain control’ type way, but in a conscious, intentional way.

bedroom-lights

Selecting one of a million lighting options on the Loxone Smart Home app.

Now here comes the science…

“Controlled experiments have shown that light at the right intensity and wavelength can have alerting effects and that dimmer, long-wavelength light can help prepare for sleep,” says George Brainard who works on the NASA programme at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

Human eyes have a set of receptors which respond exclusively to blue light by suppressing the production of the hormone melatonin – something created by our brains to help get us to sleep. During the day, the  naturally blue-ish light keeps us awake, alert and attentive. Conversely, at night, when darker, reddish tones are prevalent – and we need to sleep – the brain rushes melatonin around our systems to get us snoozing. Clever, eh?

Different hues of lighting can create different moods (other than ‘sleepy’!) in us by altering hormone levels in the brain. The studies found that red ‘relaxes, blue ‘energises’, yellowish ‘helps concentrate. You can even mix the colours for a combination of effects, apparently! So if you’re studying or working and you need to be fully attentive and switched on, a greenish mix of yellow and blue should subtly help.

Find out a little more about LED lighting and how automated lighting can work for you.