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Yes, Your Lighting Really Is Affecting Your Mood

Research and reporting confirm that light can make a difference in mood and energy.

A recent article from the Washington Post reported that the lighting in your home could affect your mood: https://www.washingtonpost.com/home/2023/04/11/lighting-mental-health-well-being/ For those of us in the lighting industry, we’re thrilled to see more attention paid to the importance of lighting at home. Also, we’re not even remotely surprised.

Light has long been associated with emotion and activity. Words like “bright” and “gloomy” can be interchangeably used to describe both mood and environment. Only fairly recently did research into Seasonal Affective Disorder link light and emotional states in ways that quantifiably proved that light exposure could impact and improve mental health. We can even report first-hand that exposure to full-spectrum phototherapy devices left us with a buzz only a triple-shot of espresso could rival.

It then makes sense that we should treat the light in our homes as more important than “jewelry” or “decoration.” Instead, it’s a matter of health.

Boiling down the content of the Post article leads to this: our bodies are tuned to react to light from the sun. The more we can mimic it in our indoor spaces, the healthier and more in tune with natural day/night cycles we’ll be.

Bright white-blue light from directly above mimics the afternoon sun, making us most alert and active. Golden-orange light from the side (think table lights, floor lights, and picture lights) approximates a sunset, telling the body to relax and begin to prepare for sleep. Lighting in our homes that break with those cycles can disrupt sleep and mood, leading to insomnia or anxiety.

So how do we “fix” the lighting in our homes now that we understand how they’re affecting us? Choosing the right color temperature bulbs is a great start. Use higher color temperatures in workspaces where energy and alertness is key (4000K-3500K in offices, workout spaces, workshops), and lower color temperature bulbs (3000K-2700K) everywhere else since most other spaces are used to relax and unwind. Adding dimmers is also helpful, and plug-in versions are available for lamps of all sizes.

If you’re more serious about your “light hygiene,” you can utilize smart lighting and controls that will shift the color of your lighting to mimic the sun throughout the day. While the most advanced systems currently cost upwards of $30,000, there are other smaller-scale DIY options available on a bulb-by-bulb basis.

While this might seem daunting, our team is here to help. Schedule your complimentary lighting consultation with a member of our team, and we’ll help guide you to the best solution for your healthy home space.

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