Choose the right light

The lighting technologies are developing rapidly. The latest initiative on the market is lighting that supports the circadian rhythm of the body. But what is actually up and down with regard to the different lighting categories, and when should you choose what? Find the answer here.

The key to the right lighting lies in the specific need. It can be said that briefly, according to lighting expert and graduate engineer Torben Skov Hansen, who works as innovation and quality manager at Chromaviso, a lighting company that has specialised in health-promoting lighting.

At Aarhus University Hospital and Glostrup Hospital, research is currently being carried out on the effect of the new Circadian Lighting on patients and staff.

”Here, we hope to be able to document some tendencies regarding the effect of the light on circadian rhythm, sleep and well-being”, explains clinical nursing specialist and PhD Leanne Langhorn from Aarhus University Hospital. 2016 will see the results from patient measurements at Aarhus University Hospital as well as Glostrup Hospital.

Circadian Lighting for 24-7
But when should you choose Circadian Lighting? Torben Skov Hansen gives a suggestion:

”Circadian Lighting is for areas that are manned around the clock, 24-7. It changes during the day and night – just like the natural light outside – with the strongest light in the middle of the day. At night, the light is changed to a special night light that does not disturb the circadian rhythm of the body. This helps staff and patients achieve better sleep, more well-being and better behaviour.”

Circadian Lighting includes a night light that is specially designed to support the circadian rhythm of the body while ensuring good lighting conditions for the working staff. It is based on a clinically validated light protocol that requires selected light fittings capable of providing broad-spectrum light around the clock. Often, the light is called low blue, but in reality, it is the unique combination of all other colours that is the key to optimal night light for the body as well as the eyes, explains the lighting expert.

The Circaidian Lighting changes throughout the day. It is strongest before noon and at night a special designed night light is on. 

In addition to the physiological impact, Circadian Lighting provides ergonomic light settings for specific zones and activities.

”Some activities or situations require a different light than the automatic Circadian Lighting. This can be a spotlight at the patient, a warm light for conversation, bright light for medicine dispensing or a strong light for emergency situations. The operation must be easy and intuitive – for the patient and next of kin as well as the staff”, explains Torben Skov Hansen.

Dynamic light for areas manned during the day
Dynamic light is a less advanced lighting solution, often referred to as daylight simulation, tunable white or kelvin change, and is characterised by being a white light that can vary in colour temperature and intensity.

”In areas where you only spend time during the day, daylight simulation with dynamic light is a good solution. Here, it is important that there is sufficient light and that the light changes automatically during the day”, explains Torben Skov Hansen. Furthermore, the white light can be supplemented with RGB-coloured light in order to create an atmosphere.

”Circadian Lighting supports the circadian rhythm of the body and well-being and provides a nice visual effect. On the other hand, RGB-coloured light is only focused on the visual”, explains Torben Skov Hansen, and emphasises that the white light should not be used at night, as this has an unsuitable effect on the health of patients and staff.

Static light fulfils simple lighting needs
Even though the new lighting categories are gaining ground in the health sector, there is still a need for static light. This is a basic solution that consists of either white or coloured light and can include a dimming feature.

”Static light covers the simple lighting needs, such as in rooms where you spend time for brief periods of time. With a dimmable solution, you have the possibility of adapting the light intensity to the varying lighting needs in the room while reducing the adverse effects of the white light”, explains Torben Skov Hansen.