The Circadian Cycle – or rhythm – is our body’s built-in clock which syncs our everyday behaviour with our biological processes. Roughly a 24-hour process, it helps to make us feel alert and lively during working hours and sleepy at night-time.
Light plays a significant role not only in how we see the
world around us but in how our body functions, affecting our daily sleep-wake
cycle and impacting on our general health and wellbeing. Getting an unbalanced
amount of light throughout the course of the day can affect our energy levels,
mental health, and weight levels. It has even been linked to long-term
illnesses such as dementia and diabetes.
The circadian cycle in humans is controlled by a section
of the hypothalamus in your brain. It is, however, simultaneously affected by
outside factors such as light – as previously mentioned – and temperature.
Your personal circadian rhythm is at optimum levels when
you have regular sleep habits; it’s best to go to bed and get up at the same
time every day whilst maintaining good sleep hygiene and a calm and comfortable
In this article, we will discuss:
Have you noticed how tired and irritable you can be when
you aren’t in a good sleep routine? If you’ve ever experienced jetlag, you will
know how under the weather you feel until you’re back into normal waking hours.
It’s normal for your circadian rhythm to be disrupted
from time to time however prolonged turmoil can have serious negative
implications on your general health.
Good quality sleep keeps your immune system in top
condition. Without sufficient quantities of rest, usually up to 8 hours a
night, your body will make fewer cytokines – which are a type of protein that
assists in combating inflammation and infection.
A disrupted circadian rhythm is sure to affect your
waking and working life. An interrupted sleep pattern is likely to result in:
At a foundational level, lighting affects the human
circadian cycle in relation to night and day. We have ‘built-in clocks’ which
are affected by light and dark respectively. Therefore, by ensuring we are
keeping a regular routine of being both in the light and the dark at the
relevant times we are keeping this in check.
There are two key effects of light on the circadian
cycle. The first is the acute suppression of melatonin (the hormone that
regulates the sleep/wake cycle) and the second is ability that light has to
shift the circadian cycle. It has been proven that the amount of light exposure
during the day has a direct influence on the duration and quality of sleep.
Extending light exposure during the day by one hour has been shown to increase
sleep time by 30 minutes.
Our circadian cycle works in conjunction with the 24-hour
day our solar system has created. In the modern day, invention of artificial
lighting has considerably altered our environment and subsequently our natural
reaction to light. With the introduction of light available during the evenings
and at night, there is significant scope for misalignment of the rhythm.
On one hand, this can allow for sleep-wake disorders as
previously discussed, however artificial lighting can also be used as an
effective therapy to treat disorders noninvasively with little reported side
Although in-depth research into the physiological effects
of light on the brain and body is still at a relatively early stage, effective
lighting design can have a positive impact on a user’s comfort levels and sense
of well-being, whether at home or in the workplace.
Human-centric lighting, or circadian lighting, uses
modern LED lighting solutions to improve and enhance daily life. There are a
variety of innovative techniques stemming from cutting-edge research into human
behaviour; all of which can be tailor-made to suit your home or business for
maximum positive impact.
Considering we spend so much of our daily lives indoors,
lighting is a key part of optimising the places where we live and work. By helping
to create a pleasant and productive working environment, or a warm and relaxing
home, we can boost well-being and productivity.
Expertly designed lighting systems are particularly
important for buildings that operate on a 24/7 schedule, such as warehouses,
distribution centres, petrol stations, larger supermarkets, care homes and
One of the main problems with the use of traditional
incandescent or strip lighting during the daytime is that they don’t provide
enough energy to actively support human physiology. Furthermore, at night-time
they produce too much energy, causing us to feel over-stimulated when we should
be winding down to go to sleep.
While most people living a normal 9-5 existence will have
a similar circadian rhythm in sync with the natural daylight cycle, each
person’s circadian cycle is unique and it can start and stop at different times
based on our individual physiological makeup and typical daily routine.
It’s impossible to know the full details of someone’s
circadian clock without understanding the physiological traits of that specific
person and actively measuring things such as their melatonin levels which are
general at their highest during the circadian night, and physical activity
which, according to research, is more beneficial to our health when carried out
during the circadian daytime.
As such, rather than being fully autonomous, there is
increasing emphasis on user-controlled lighting systems, whereby workers and
residents can choose the type of lighting that suits them at any particular
time of day or night.
Using smart devices – including mobile phone apps,
tablets and wearable health sensors – you’re able to program your preferences to
remember your preferences which will then naturally alter lighting levels
throughout the course of the day.
At Airius, we’ve spent years researching and developing
our innovative products to provide intelligent and effective lighting solutions
that are in tune with the complex demands of the human body as well as the
practicalities of daily life.
Some of the many additional benefits of our
market-leading LED lighting technology include:
…Airius is at the forefront of the LED lighting
As humans living
in the modern age, it’s difficult to maintain a natural sleep pattern with so
many potential disturbances. The circadian cycle is an integral element of our
health and wellbeing, so it’s only natural we should want to protect and
Lighting places a
central role in our day-to-day living, so it’s important we utilise it well.
LED lighting, when used correctly, optimises our experience of the 24-hour day
to night cycle.
benefits have been proven, and with the advances in modern technology and
lighting available to us today, it makes sense to employ them.
If you would like some further information about how LEDs can affect the body’s circadian cycle and the many health benefits that come from LED-based workplace lighting, please get in touch. You can contact us on 01202 554 200 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.