• How Circadian Rhythm Influences Your Health

    healthy woman at sunrise

     

    Your circadian rhythm is responsible for the metal, physical and behavioral changes that you experience every day. According to the National Institutes of Health, circadian rhythms are the body’s response to light and darkness. While circadian rhythms are not the same thing as an individual’s biological clock, biological clocks drive circadian rhythms. By knowing what circadian rhythms influence, you’ll have a greater understanding of how light therapy can keep you on-track during the dark winter months.

     

    The Influences of Circadian Rhythms

    In addition to controlling sleep-wake cycles, circadian rhythms affect or contribute to:

    • Hormone production and release
    • Body temperature
    • Moods
    • Heart rate
    • Blood pressure
    • Mental health
    • Appetite
    • The growth and spread of some forms of cancer
    • Jet lag
    • DNA repair
    • Metabolism

    Biological Clocks, Master Clocks and Circadian Rhythms

    The body has several biological clocks in the molecules that control circadian rhythms throughout the body’s cells.  A master clock, your brain, controls the biological clocks via the suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN, a group of nerve cells in the hypothalamus.

     

    The SCN receives signals from the eyes, based on the type and amount of light to which they are exposed. When the light is bright and has white and blue wavelengths, like natural light during the day, the SCN tells the brain to produce serotonin, which keeps you awake and gives you energy. When the eyes sense darkness, the brain converts serotonin into melatonin, which helps you fall asleep.

     

    In addition to biological clocks, genetic factors and proteins in the body affect circadian rhythms. A 2011 LiveScience article reports that researchers at the University of California, Irvine, discovered in 2006 that the proteins CLOCK and SIRT1 largely influence circadian rhythms in humans other organisms. Upsetting the balance between the two proteins leads to increased hunger and sleep disruptions. Prolonged imbalances contribute to obesity.

     

    In addition to the brain, different organs in the body have their own circadian rhythms. These organs produce enzymes, hormones and other molecules at different times of the day. These organs take cues from the brain. A metabolic disorder, such as diabetes, occurs when the brain and organs are out of sync. In the case of insulin resistance, the pancreas, liver and brain aren’t coordinated, causing too much or too little insulin production.

     

    Using Light Therapy in the Fall and Winter

    One of the more notable circadian rhythm disruptions that many people have experienced is jet lag. Another is the seasonal variation in natural light when the days are shorter in the fall and winter. When this occurs, it is common for people in affected areas to feel more lethargic or even crave high-carbohydrate foods. A percentage of the population also experiences seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, a type of major depressive disorder.

     

    To combat the effects of the seasonal changes in daylight, simple light therapy techniques include allowing more natural light to enter a room, sitting next to a window more often and regularly exercising outside, particularly in the mornings.

     

    Exposure to natural light puts you in direct contact with the blue and white wavelengths that stimulate a sense of wakefulness. If you’re in an area where the days are notoriously short, you can receive the same benefits with light therapy products, such as those offered by Nature Bright. Numerous studies show that the wavelengths emitted by therapy lights work just as well as natural light. The trick is to use them at the right times of day. Aim for at least three times a day in the morning and afternoon. In the evening and night, avoid the use of bright therapy lights because this is the period when your brain prepares for sleep.

     

    From supporting plant life to creating beautiful sunsets at night to regulating various functions in the body, light has a major role in how the world works. Thanks to scientific advances, you can use light therapy throughout the year to naturally regulate circadian rhythms and improve or maintain your overall wellbeing.

     

    [Photo from Caden Crawford via CC License 2.0]
  • What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

    woman with seasonal affective disorder

     

    Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression related to seasonal changes in daylight that affects about half a million Americans each year. The onset of symptoms tends to begin when the days grow shorter, with patients finding relief during the spring. In general, SAD affects those who live furthest from the equator, as they experience greater seasonal changes in daylight, according to a November 2015 article in Medical News Today. Thirty years after coining the term seasonal affective disorder, treatment methods have grown to include natural remedies that patients find safe and effective.

     

    Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder

    The exact causes of SAD remain unknown. Scientists, however, found a link between the disorder and the following factors:

     

    • Circadian rhythms: Circadian rhythms take cues from the amount of sunlight that you receive. According to the Mayo Clinic, the shorter days that begin in the fall disrupt circadian rhythms in some individuals, leading to feeling of depression.
    • Hypothalamus: Light affects the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for the body’s circadian rhythms, moods, sleep and appetite. The hypothalamus receives signals from the eyes based on the amount and type of light the body is exposed to. These signals tell the brain to produce serotonin, melatonin and other hormones.
    • Serotonin levels: When exposed to blue or white wavelengths, like the kind found in natural light, the brain produces serotonin, which is responsible for regulating moods and making you feel more awake and alert.
    • Melatonin levels: When the eyes see darkness, it triggers the brain to convert serotonin into melatonin. Increased melatonin levels make an individual feel more tired and affect neurotransmitters.

     

    Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

    Individuals with SAD have a form of major depressive disorder that emerges with seasonal changes. Symptoms of major depressive disorder that may also appear in patients with SAD include:

     

    • Low energy levels
    • Feelings of worthlessness or a loss of hope
    • Little interest in activities once found enjoyable
    • Feelings of depression nearly every day for most of the day
    • Difficulty sleeping
    • Feeling sluggish
    • Changes in weight or appetite
    • Craving sugary foods or those high in carbohydrates
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Difficulty getting along with others
    • Irritability

    Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatment Using Light Therapy

    One of the most effective types of SAD treatment is light therapy. Open up the curtains in your home to allow more natural light to fill the rooms. At home and work, sit next to windows as much as possible to maximize your exposure to light.

     

    Increase your exposure to light by regularly exercising outside. WebMD states that exercising naturally releases endorphins, a chemical that acts as a sedative, reduces the perception of pain, reduce feelings of stress and helps you feel happier. If the weather doesn’t permit exercising outside or it’s dark during the times that you workout, exercise indoors in a brightly lit area, such as a gym. For individuals with SAD, one of the best times to workout, even on cloudy days, is in the morning.

     

    Another effective form of light therapy is the use of light boxes, or therapy lights, that emit blue and white wavelengths, similar to the sun. The best lights are those that provide 10,000 lux of illumination. Sit near the light everyday for at least 30 minutes every day. For the best results, use the light box two or three times a day during the morning and afternoon. Unless you have shift work, avoid using the light in the evening to avoid disrupting your sleep schedule.

     

    SAD is a serious illness and you may be able to naturally manage the symptoms with light therapy, exercise and a healthy diet. If the feelings of depression worsen or you have thoughts of hurting yourself, death or suicide, seek immediate medical attention. Also, talk to your doctor if you experience depression-related symptoms for more than two weeks to determine the best type of SAD treatment for you.

     

    [Photo from Joe Penna via CC License 2.0]
  • Natural Light Therapy Can Help Kids with Autism

    child with mother on park bench

     

    Natural light therapy for kids is as simple as opening curtains during the day to allow natural light to enter a room, or having children sit near light therapy products early in the day. Just as light therapy, or phototherapy, is safe and effective for adults, it produces the same positive effects in children with autism spectrum disorder. By understanding how light therapy works and simple ways to use it, your child may experience improved sleep quality and a reduction in behavioral issues related to seasonal depression.

     

    Light and the Brain

    The body’s circadian rhythms are guided by biological clocks in the body that a master clock in the brain regulates. This master clock, located in the hypothalamus’ suprachiasmatic nucleus, or SCN, responds to light. When the eyes sense light, they send signals to the SCN that tell it to secrete hormones or relay signals to other parts of the body. For example, when the eyes sense light, particularly blue and white wavelengths, they trigger the SCN to produce serotonin, which helps the body feel awake. In the presence of darkness, the SCN converts the serotonin to melatonin, which makes the body feel sleepy. An imbalance in light exposure disrupts hormone production and protein synthesis, leading to a myriad of consequences, including sleep disorders, behavioral problems, hormonal imbalances, altered insulin production, and stress on the body.

     

    The Healing Powers of Natural Light Therapy for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Autism survivor and neuroscientist Jean Genet states that damaged crystalline structures in neural pathways lead to the development of autism in children because they halt speech, physical, emotional and mental development. He believes that exposure to light wavelengths in rainbow colors (i.e., red, orange, green, blue, indigo, yellow and violet) using light therapy will repair the damaged structures and allow a child to develop more normally.

     

    In autistic children who suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, light therapy may help relieve symptoms of depression and improve behavioral issues. Researchers believe there is a link between SAD and the shorter days that occur in the fall and winter seasons. They have found that the supplemental light from phototherapy products helps relieve symptoms associated with SAD, as well as:

     

    • Potentially lower the child’s dose of antidepressants or sleep medications
    • Reduce sleep-related problems, such as insomnia
    • Reduce disruptive behaviors
    • Improve sleep-wake cycles
    • Limit the use of sleep aids to help a child fall asleep
    • Reduce circadian rhythm dysfunctions
    • Improve daytime alertness

     

    Natural Light Therapy for Kids

    The best type of light to use for light therapy is one that illuminates at 10,000 lux and filters all ultraviolet light. Use the light in the morning after your child wakes up. Simply being near the light for as little as 30 minutes may be enough to relieve a child’s symptoms and improve sleep. The best times of day to use light therapy products are in the morning and afternoon. Avoid using light boxes in the evening or at night because the wavelengths emitted promote wakefulness.

     

    Work with your child’s physician to develop a light therapy schedule. Keep in mind that you may have to work up to 30-minute sessions. Nature Bright carries a variety of light therapy solutions that make integrating phototherapy in your child’s environment simple. Consult with your child’s physician to learn which product would be the most beneficial.

     

    [Photo from Vladimir Pustovit via CC License 2.0]
  • Is Light Therapy Safe for Children?

    healthy children playing

     

    While there is plenty of media coverage regarding seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, in adults, children are often left out of the picture. The truth is that SAD affects children just as it does adults, particularly those who live in areas that are far from the equator.

     

    SAD is a type of major depressive disorder whose symptoms appear when the days grow shorter in the fall and winter. The symptoms generally subside in the spring, when the days grow longer. Because of the great risks related to children and youth taking antidepressant medications to treat anxiety or depression, researchers found light therapy for children to be a safe, effective treatment alternative.

     

    Circadian Rhythms and Depression

    While the exact causes of depression and its subtypes are not fully known, scientists have found a link between the mental health disorder and circadian rhythms. Circadian rhythms are the body’s response to light and darkness. These responses contribute to:

     

    • The release and production of hormones
    • Moods
    • Mental health
    • Sleep-wake cycles
    • Heart rate
    • Body temperature
    • Appetite
    • Metabolism
    • DNA repair
    • Protein synthesis

     

    A 2012 article published in the Journal of Neural Transmission states that the discovery of “clock genes,” the biological clocks present in various cells throughout the body, may lead to circadian rhythm abnormalities. Researchers believe that these abnormalities show the relationship between depressive symptoms and sleep disorders, as abnormal sleep patterns may increase the risk of depressive episodes, as well as negatively affect emotional and cognitive regulation, metabolism, and hormonal balances.

     

    Using Light Therapy for Children

    When eyes see light, they send signals to the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the brain’s hypothalamus. These signals trigger the production of various hormones, including serotonin and melatonin, which make a body feel alert or sleepy. During the fall and winter, when the eyes see less natural light during the day, the body’s altered serotonin and melatonin production may affect sleep-wake cycles and alter moods. Scientists hypothesize that light has a neurotrophic influence on neurons, and a prolonged decrease in light impairs the brain’s noradrenergic-locus coeruleus system, immune system regulation and neurohormones.

     

    Studies found that white and blue wavelengths in light therapy products mimic the wavelengths found in natural light. In individuals with SAD and other depressive disorders, researchers found that the benefits produced by bright light therapy mimicked those produced by antidepressant medications. Light therapy, however, did not carry the same risks or side effects of antidepressants.

     

    Light therapy is as simple as using a phototherapy product for at least 30 minutes a day in the morning or afternoon. Along with psychotherapy, light therapy is one of the safest forms of treatment for children and youth who experience depression, as it is well tolerated and effective.

     

    Increasing a child’s exposure to bright light is a proven simple, effective way to help relieve depressive symptoms, particularly those related to seasonal changes in daylight. Parents should always consult with a child’s pediatrician regarding observed symptoms to determine the best course of treatment. Medical professionals can also advise regarding the best type of light therapy product to use and when to use them.

     

    [Photo from LadyDragonflyCC - >;< via CC License 2.0]
  • How Hotels Can Help Traveling Execs Improve Their Stay

    Hotel California

     

    Many hotel guests are individuals who traveled across two or more time zones quickly. The time difference makes them feel jet lagged and uncoordinated. Daylighting for hotels helps reduce the effects of jet lag in guests and helps them feel more comfortable. When guests feel comfortable, they’re more likely to be return visitors, which may earn your hotel a corporate account.

     
    Why Use Daylighting for Hotels

     

    The way that eyes interpret light has a big role in your sleep-wake cycle. When your retinas see light, the photosensitive cells in them send signals to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the brain’s hypothalamus. In the presence of bright lighting, the SCN tells the pineal gland in the epithalamus to secrete serotonin, which keeps you awaked. When it’s dark, the SCN sends signals to the pineal gland to convert serotonin into melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy.

     

    In a hotel, guests often do not receive ample exposure to natural light, which may disrupt their circadian rhythms. They use the provided blackout curtains at night to keep their rooms dark, which prevents them from naturally waking with the sunrise. Strategic daylighting exposes guests to the appropriate type of light for the time of day, so they grow more accustomed to the current time zone. For guests who are not jet lagged, daylighting helps them maintain their circadian rhythm in their new, temporary environment.

     
    Additional Benefits of Daylighting for Hotels

    • Reduce energy costs

    • Reduce eye strain in guests and employees

    • Improve worker productivity, efficiency and alertness

    • Improve memory recall

    • Increase the sense of satisfaction in guests and workers

    • Naturally reduce stress

    • Decrease employee absenteeism

    • Increased guest happiness and satisfaction increases their spending on hotel services, such as room service and at on-site amenities, including restaurants, spas and gift shops

    • Increase the value of the property and each room

    • Helps guests sleep better, feel more optimistic and have a greater sense of wellbeing

     

    The Sun Frame for Hotels

     

    Nature Bright’s Sun Frame is a light therapy product that illuminates artwork using lights that emit different wavelengths based on the time of day. Nature Bright collaborated with Duke University researchers to develop the SkyEffect technology used in the frame, which mimics natural sunlight. The technology shines energizing blue wavelengths in the morning and slowly shifts to calming red wavelengths in the evening.

     

    At 10,000 lux, the Sun Frame is bright enough to illuminate an entire room while using less electricity than a standard light bulb. This light therapy product is also programmable and customizable, allowing you to set up the sun frame so it begins to illuminate when a guest wants to wake up, mimicking a morning sunrise. Pair the Sun Frame with scenes from around the area to give your guests the ultimate wake-up service. Moreover, take advantage of the adjustable light output to help guests feel less jet lagged. Simply intensify the brightness in the morning or afternoon, depending on their original time zone.

     

    In addition to using the Sun Frame in guest rooms, use it throughout the hotel to create a unified look and incorporate daylighting that benefits workers and visitors alike. Ideas for places to use the Sun Frame include behind the front desk, in the lobby, in the dining room where guests enjoy breakfast, and in business centers.

     

    Nature Bright’s Sun Frame is a unique way to provide traveling executives with a great, comfortable experience at your hotel. Daylighting for hotels give an accommodation a welcoming feel from which all exposed to the light therapy will benefit.

     

    [Photo from Kevin Dooley via CC License 2.0]
  • How Traveling Execs Can Use Natural Light for Jet Lag

    travelers boarding airplane

     

    Traveling across several time zones quickly takes a toll on the body and mind. In general, it takes about one day to recover for each time zone crossed. While you can’t prevent the disruption to your internal clock, using natural light strategically for jet leg treatment will help reduce the effects and the amount of time it takes to recover.

     
    Causes of Jet Lag

     
    Jet lag occurs when you cross two or more time zones quickly because it throws off your circadian rhythm. The cabin pressure inside planes may aggravate the effects of jet lag because the higher altitude lowers the amount of oxygen in the blood. Failing to remain properly hydrated during a flight may also increase jet lag symptoms. By using the right type of lighting at the right time of day before, during and after a flight, you’ll prepare your body and mind for the time difference.

     
    Jet Lag Treatment Tips Using Natural Light

     

    Be mindful of the time at your final destination when you arrive at the airport. If you’re traveling east, for example, and it’s already evening or nighttime at your destination, consider using sunglasses at the airport and on the plane to expose your eyes to less bright light. Draw the shade over the window, if possible.

     

    When traveling west, leave the shade on the window up, if possible. Exposing yourself to natural light will slow the production of melatonin.

     

    Sleep on the plane during long flights. Set your watch to your destination’s time before the plane takes-off. When it’s nighttime at your destination, try to sleep as much as you can on the plane to help your body get used to the time difference. Use foam earplugs and a comfortable eye mask to block out light. If there is an in-flight meal or snack during the time that you want to sleep, ask the flight attendant to save it for you if you are sleeping to reduce interruptions.

     

    Plan what to do for the time following your airplane’s arrival. If you land at night, plan to sleep once you arrive. If it’s daytime, plan your day so you remain busy until late evening. Weather permitting, plan activities that are outside to help keep you energized and awake. If you feel as if you need to nap to make up for lost sleep, limit it to 45 minutes so you don’t experience difficulties falling asleep at night.

     

    Use natural light and light therapy products to adjust your circadian rhythm gently. When traveling east, seek morning light and avoid light in the late afternoon. Conversely, avoid bright morning light when travels take you west, but expose yourself to plenty of afternoon light. During the fall and winter, when the days are shorter, a light therapy product will help you get the appropriate amount of light at the right times of day.

     

    Preparing for a time difference when you travel allows you to enjoy your destination more and feel less uncoordinated. Frequent travelers often rely on high performance light therapy products, like Nature Bright’s Sun Bliss, to help them prepare for a trip and adjust to new time zones. If you experience particular difficulties with time zone changes, consult a sleep specialist regarding the best jet lag treatment for you.

     

    [Photo from Shaun Fisher via CC License 2.0]
  • Using Natural Light in Hospital Interior Design

    hospital room with natural light

     

    Light is a healing force. It regulates the body’s circadian rhythm, which controls sleep-wake cycles and has a role in emotional health, heart function, body temperatures and other functions necessary for healing. According to a February 2015 article in Designing Buildings, research findings show that natural light for hospitals offers significant benefits to patients and health care staff.

     

    Artificial Lighting in Hospitals

    Advances in artificial lighting and air conditioning allowed architects to design large, deep buildings with enclosed spaces that didn’t rely on natural lighting for illumination. While the spaces are habitable, they often lack efficiency and have negative effects on general wellbeing and productivity. Patients in windowless rooms tend to feel higher levels of stress and, in extreme cases, suffered from the effects of Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).

    Modern health care architects have a greater focus on sustainable or green building designs that exploit natural daylight and the views out of windows. The designs take advantage of the benefits of natural light while combating the negative impacts associated with it, such as heat gains, the transmission of UV rays and glare.

     

    Benefits of Natural Light for Hospitals

     

    Reduced lengths of in-patient stays: Researchers found that patients admitted to brighter rooms spent up to 41 percent less time in the hospital than those in dimmer or windowless rooms. In a study involving cardiac patients in an intensive care unit, patients in darker rooms stayed a day longer on average than those in brighter rooms. Similarly, mortality rates were higher among patients in darker rooms.

     

    Faster post-operative recovery: When a room has ample natural light during and provides a nice view, post-operative patients feel less stressed and have lower blood pressure, which is vital for recovery. In windowless rooms, patients are more at risk for feeling depressed and developing post-operative delirium. When a patient feels stressed, inflammation in the body increases, which increases pain and hinders healing.

     

    Greater pain relief: Up to 22 percent of patients in bright rooms report needing fewer pain medications. When a patient needs more pain medication, the individual’s must heal from the surgery and deal with the negative side effects of the medications and higher medical bills.

     

    Improved employee morale: Natural lighting boosts employee productivity and moods, and helps them feel more energized. In a hospital environment, employees with access to natural light and views of nature have lower levels of stress and health-related absenteeism, which ultimately benefits patients.

     

    The Ideal Natural Light for Hospitals

     

    When designing health care spaces, the most important factors regarding window design include the amount of sunshine that enters a room, patient proximity to the window, the view, and patient privacy. The findings regarding the best window size for a patient’s room vary by study. In general, patients tend to prefer windows that occupy at least 25 percent of an exterior wall. Many patients prefer rooms with two or more windows.

     

    Numerous studies have found that exposure to bright lights of at least 2,500 lux that contain short white or blue wavelengths for at least two hours in the morning are the most beneficial to patients. This is particularly true for patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, as they displayed less agitation later in the day and improved sleep-wake cycles.

     

    Hospitals should provide the ultimate healing environment. While bright natural daylight is best, it’s not always possible to get optimal levels during certain seasons or because of building constrains. Supplementing natural light with light therapy solutions throughout a health care facility exposes patients and staff to the benefits of the sun’s healthy wavelengths, and may improve a patient’s perceived quality of care. Light therapy also offers a more affordable alternative to a building remodel and aids and organization’s green efforts when constructing a new facility.

     

    [Photo from Fotos GOVBA via CC License 2.0]
  • Light Therapy Can Aid in Alzheimer’s Disease Treatments

    alzheimers patients with nurse

     

    Good lighting is essential to an individual’s wellbeing. In healthy individuals, a lack of natural or full-spectrum lighting leads to circadian rhythm disturbances or sleep disorders, which may affect the heart, mental health and other systems in the body. When an individual has a cognitive impairment, light therapy for Alzheimer’s patients and those with dementia is vital to naturally regulating sleep cycles and promoting positive emotional and physical health.

     

    Light and the Brain

     

    Within the brain’s hypothalamus is the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), the part of the brain that Alzheimer’s disease typically affects first. The SCN naturally decreases in cell mass in after an individual is about 80 years old, but the reduction of cells is more pronounced in those with Alzheimer’s disease and the reduction occurs at an earlier age. Scientists believe that the shrinkage may relate to the sleep disorders that individuals may experience as they age.

     

    The brain’s SCN regulates an individual’s circadian rhythms, or internal biological clock. The SCN receives and interprets information from the retinas based on the light signals that the photosensitive cells within it transmit. The SCN then sends the information to the pineal gland in the brain. When it’s dark or the light levels are lower, the pineal gland converts serotonin into melatonin and secretes it. Alternatively, when the eyes see white or blue wavelengths in light—like those found in sunlight—serotonin conversion does not occur.

     

    Using Light Therapy for Alzheimer’s Patients

     

    A January 2013 article in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease states that circadian system depends on the timing of light exposure to function well and is the most sensitive to blue, or short-wavelength, light. Scientists found that in the morning, bright light exposure of 1,000 lux or more increases daytime wakefulness, helps patients feel less agitated the evening and promotes nighttime sleep. Bright lights also improved cognitive functions and sleep efficiency, and reduced symptoms of depression. While conducting studies, researchers found that the timing of bright light exposure mattered. Alzheimer’s patients seemed to respond the best with morning light therapy between 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

     

    The best light therapy for Alzheimer’s patients provides high circadian stimulation during the day and low stimulation in the evening and night. Optimal daytime levels are 1,000 lux or higher for at least two hours. Daylight from windows, for example, is an effective light source. Keep in mind, however, that daylight levels of brightness lower once an individual is three or four meters away, even on a sunny day. Furthermore, daylight from windows may not be effective if it causes an uncomfortable glare that prompts individuals to close the shades.

     

    At night, lights should not be brighter than 60 lux. Research shows that exposure to red and orange wavelengths are the least disruptive to circadian rhythms in the evening. Scientists also found that low ambient illumination in the form of strips of amber LED lights behind doorframes, along with dim incandescent nightlights in hallways, improved patient stability and reduced the risk of falls at night.

     

    Light therapy for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients helps reduce some of the symptoms of cognitive impairment and improves sleep cycles. In turn, this allows an individual to remain independent for a longer period. The light therapy options that Nature Bright offers mimic natural sunlight, providing the benefits of blue and white wavelengths throughout the year. Browse through Nature Bright’s selection of light therapy products to find the best one for your home or facility.

     

    [Photo from Ministere du Travail, de l'Emploi et de la sante via CC Licence 2.0]
  • Replace Your Fluorescent Lighting with SkyEffect Lights

    office workers in fluorescent lighting

     

    Lighting in the workplace is a big deal for employees, as it affects various aspects of their performance. There’s a reason why workers covet corner offices and those with windows. When you have quality lighting, workers and clients might not give it a second thought. Bad lighting—lighting that’s too bright, dim or annoying—is all it takes to reduce productivity, increase discomfort, and make workers feel less content and more tired. Poor lighting also reduces self-motivation and sales. By using natural light for office space solutions, like with Nature Bright’s SkyEffect lighting, you’ll provide your employees the energizing lighting they crave and the company will grow closer to achieving its goals.

     
    The Implications of Artificial Lighting

     

    The human body uses light to regulate different functions, from circadian rhythms to emotions. When the eyes sense light, they communicate with the brain. In response, the brain regulates cortisol and melatonin levels, depending on the amount of light sensed. When you’re outdoors, your body uses the sun as a cue about when it’s time to sleep or be awake. In the workplace, the eyes may receive mixed messages from fluorescent lighting.

     

    With humans spending more time indoors than ever before, conventional fluorescent lighting is linked to issues such as increased employee absences, headaches, eyestrain, reduced mental alertness and increased staff turnover. Without exposure to natural light-dark cycles, sleep-wake cycles experience interruptions that are as long as two hours a day, which could lead to chronic sleep debt. Employees who experience this disorder feel chronically tired and are less likely to perform at optimal levels.

     
    Natural Light for Office Space Solution

     

    Moving to a new building or remodeling isn’t always a realistic option. By mimicking natural light with the use of light therapy products, a company can support its workers’ health, natural biorhythms, sense of satisfaction and motivation, and productivity.

     

    SkyEffect light are LED panels that mimic natural sunlight, creating the illusion of skylights. Over the course of a day, the intensity of the lights and their wavelengths change, similar to the sun. A control panel allows a user to set an automatic program or manually adjust the light’s brightness or color temperature.

     

    The LEDs in SkyEffect lights stay cool, require little maintenance and have a lifespan of up to 100,000 hours. The lights never flicker or produce excessive glares. They are energy efficiency, and the positive results that they produce in the workplace make the lights more cost effective than not using them at all.

     
    Benefits of Natural Light in the Workplace

     

    Numerous scientific studies prove that natural light is better for the body and mind. Exposure to the right types of light at the right times of day appropriately regulate heart function, metabolic health, mental health and circadian rhythms. They best types of light during the day are those that have shorter white and blue wavelengths. In the evening, dim lights and those with red wavelengths help the body prepare to sleep. At night, darkness is best because it allows the mind and body to rest.

     

    When the lighting in an office is similar to natural light levels, employee morale increases and workers feel more content. This leads to human performance benefits, such as higher levels of motivation, productivity, output and employee retention.

     

    Natural daylight is variable and unpredictable. By installing natural lighting solutions at the workplace, employees will receive more exposure to lighting that’s therapeutic and promotes a healthy, productive environment. Contact NatureBright to learn more about its SkyEffect systems.

  • Benefits of Adding Daylighting Systems to Interior Design

    daylighting for home

     

    A well-illuminated room is like a breath of fresh air. Good lighting energizes you, accentuates details affects how you view colors. Daylighting for homes is a hot trend in the interior design industry because it replicates natural daylight, is a sustainable design element and allows a homeowner’s personality to shine. Without it, all the hard work that went into all the design planning and details gets lost in the shadows.

     
    Replicating Natural Daylight

     

    When it comes to lighting, nature does it best. The clarity of natural daylight in a home may seem tricky to replicate, especially in regions that have cloudy or overcast weather, but daylighting systems make this task simpler. An easy way to integrate daylighting for homes is with Nature Bright’s Sun Frame.

     

    The Sun Frame is a light therapy device that illuminates artwork with continual lighting that changes in color and intensity throughout the day, similar to the sun. The frame is bright enough to illuminate a room. Using SkyEffect technologies that are backed by research, the light that shines from the frame supports circadian rhythms, as it mimics natural sunlight. In the morning, the frame displays energizing lights with blue wavelengths that shift to calming lights with red wavelengths in the evening.

     
    Benefits of Daylighting for Healthy Homes

     

    Daylighting systems like the SunFrame:

    - Enhance moods

    - Promote higher levels of energy

    - Increase productivity

    - Focus on an individual’s biological clock

    - Restore the body’s natural balance

    - Promote good sleep hygiene

    - Improve sleep quality

    - Do not cause eyestrain

    - Promotes natural melatonin production and healthy cortisol levels throughout the day

    - Have adjustable light outputs and lighting schedules to benefit those who do shift work or work irregular hours

    - Support overall physical and emotional health

     

    How Daylighting Systems Improve the Visual Appeal of a Home

     

    - The SunFrame is like a framed work of art that hangs on a wall. It has a slim profile that only requires wall space, making it perfect for smaller rooms.

    - The SunFrame is a work of art. Nature Bright has a selection of images that look great in the SunFrame. Clients can also use their own images and swap them out as they please.

    - A user has full control over the lighting output and timing.

    - The SunFrame uses less energy than a standard light bulb.

    - The SunFrame can serve as a focal point or accentuate a focal point in a room, such as a fireplace.

    - Daylighting systems supplement natural lighting without heating the space.

    - Installing a SunFrame may be more economical and energy efficient than adding another window to a space.

     

    The body naturally takes its cues from the sun. When the sky darkens, it’s time to sleep. When it’s light, it’s time to be active. The best daylighting systems for homes mimic the sun’s intensity and wavelengths to promote healthy biorhythms. Nature Bright’s SunFrame is more than light therapy, it is human-centric lighting.

     

    [Photo from torbakhopper via CC License 2.0]