Today we’re going to talk about a topic bringing together wellness and architecture and interior. Are you someone who sometimes has troubling falling asleep or waking up at the right time? Chances are your circadian rhythm may be disrupted by your living environment. What really is your body’s circadian rhythm? Think of it like your body’s own internal clock. Circadian rhythms are natural 24-hour cycles that control many important bodily functions, such as sleep and wakefulness.
The sleep-wake cycle is one of the most well-known circadian rhythms. When a circadian rhythm is aligned with the natural day-night cycle, it can promote consistent and restorative sleep. However, when this rhythm is disrupted, it can cause significant sleep problems, including insomnia. Research is also showing that circadian rhythms play an important role in many aspects of physical and mental health Our homes and work places should be designed to follow the natural cycle of light and dark. Rooms that are used in the morning and throughout the day should have plenty of natural light, while bedrooms should be dark at night.
Light and wellness:
When designing new buildings, it is important to consider how to bring more usable daylight into the space. Daylight is the first and best option for stimulating the circadian rhythm, which is important for sleep, mood, and cognitive function. Research has shown that just half an hour of morning daylight is enough to set the circadian rhythm. However, it takes a lot of electric light to provide the same stimulus, which can be costly and energy-intensive. Therefore, it is important to prioritize daylighted areas within buildings, such as break rooms, conference rooms, and casual meeting/lounging spaces. This will not only improve the well-being of occupants, but it can also save energy and money.
The color of light can also have a direct effect on the circadian rhythm, which is the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Research has shown that exposure to different colors of light can help to regulate the circadian rhythm and improve sleep quality. The most effective lighting replicates both the sun and the sky, which provide a range of colors throughout the day.
Here are some specific examples of how the color of light can affect the circadian rhythm:
Blue light: Blue light is emitted by the sun during the day and by electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops. Exposure to blue light in the morning can help to wake up the body and improve alertness. However, exposure to blue light at night can interfere with sleep.
Warm light: Warm light is emitted by incandescent light bulbs and candles. Exposure to warm light in the evening can help to relax the body and promote sleep.
Here are some specific design considerations for bringing more usable daylight into buildings:
Maximize the amount of windows: Windows are the primary source of daylight in buildings. Therefore, it is important to maximize the amount of windows in the design. This can be done by using large windows, skylights, and clerestory windows.
Place windows strategically: The location of windows is also important for maximizing daylight. Windows should be placed on the south or east side of the building to maximize the amount of morning and afternoon sunlight.
Use light-colored materials: Light-colored materials reflect more light, which can help to brighten the space and make it feel more spacious.
Consider the climate: The climate in the area where the building is located should also be considered when designing for daylight. In hot climates, it is important to use shading devices to prevent overheating. In cold climates, it is important to use insulation to prevent heat loss.
Fake daylight during the day:
Artificial skylights can be a good option for older buildings or tenant improvement projects. There are a variety of products available, from simple, static luminaires that produce high levels of light that emulate the sky to more dynamic products that can change color, intensity, and even simulate different weather conditions.
Here are some of the benefits of using artificial skylights:
Improved productivity: Studies have shown that exposure to natural light can improve productivity and mood. Artificial skylights can provide a similar benefit, even in buildings without windows.
Reduced stress: Exposure to natural light can also reduce stress levels. Artificial skylights can help to create a more relaxing and comfortable environment.
Improved sleep: Exposure to natural light can help to regulate the circadian rhythm, which is important for sleep. Artificial skylights can help to promote better sleep, even in bedrooms without windows.
Energy savings: Artificial skylights can save energy by reducing the need for artificial lighting.
Recessed hidden lights and lamps (all examples of INDIRECT light) for home spaces used in the evening
During evening time, it is obvious that time should be spent away from blue light as much as possible that includes all kinds of screens but even direct exposure to bright yellow naked bulbs can disrupt your sense of calm and circadian rhythm in the evening. Ways to deal with this is to have INDIRECT light along pelmets on the borders of the ceiling and lamp shapes designed to hide the light bulbs
Keep watching this channel for more tips on design psychology and how to live well using simple architectural and interior design tools!