TOPICS

Health impact of lighting. Light and seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Health impact of lighting. Light and seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

By Carlos M. Requejo

Today the state of science allows us to affirm that light is biodynamic, since it affects the endocrine system and all biological systems. Therefore the quality of artificial lighting is significant for human health, as well as for safety and work performance.

In autumn and winter there is an increase in depression and anxiety attacks due to the lack of natural light, it is Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The powerful influence of light on brain neurotransmitters modifies attention, mood and behavior, alters human health and affects work performance.

Like the bear preparing to winter, most humans tend to wear dark-colored clothing, overeat, and lock ourselves indoors for winter, and we rarely see direct sun. If we usually spend up to 80% of the time in closed environments, during the winter, due to the cold and the lack of light, we become depressed and increasingly avoid going outside.

On the one hand, our homes, schools and offices are very poorly lit, with little or no sunlight. It is enough to compare the scarce 300-500 lux intensity of usual lighting, with the 10,000 lux that natural light offers us on a cloudy day, or the 150,000 lux of a radiant summer noon.

On the other hand, artificial light is usually lacking in the colors of the sun, since incandescent lamps emit a warm light, with a dominant orange-red, with a total absence of high-frequency tones, green, blue and violet. In addition, incandescent lighting wastes 80% of electrical energy in the form of useless heat.

In contrast, ordinary fluorescent lamps give off a cool blue-green dominant light, and are deficient in violet and red. In addition, the usual ballasts flicker at 50 Hz, and produce electromagnetic pollution (elektrosmog), which induces stress brain waves, as well as chronic fatigue and eyestrain.

Influence of light

Research in photobiology shows that a chronic lack of light can be the cause of depression, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder, in addition to other health disorders such as insomnia, stress, anxiety, headaches, dizziness, chronic fatigue, rickets, even sexual loss of appetite, impotence and infertility.

We know that light conditions visual acuity and the perception of colors. Today the state of science allows us to affirm that light is biodynamic, since it affects the endocrine system and all biological systems. Therefore the quality of artificial lighting is significant for human health, as well as for safety and work performance.

We know that the circadian cycle of light, night-day, produces the stimulation of brain neurotransmitters. Daylight favors serotonin and dopamine, activates and stimulates us. In the absence of light stimulation, melatonin (the sleep hormone) increases. The lack of adequate light rhythm causes morning drowsiness and insomnia at night. These pathologies are more serious in autumn-winter, as the light cycle is shortened and we shut ourselves up more at home because of the cold.

A bright light, from an intensity of 800 to 1000 lux, tells us that it is already daylight, awakens the spirits, without the need for coffee or tobacco, and provides the brain with serotonin, the hormone of activity and good humor. This occurs naturally when looking at the sun, but in closed environments, the lighting is biologically insufficient and our brain remains passive, inducing pessimism, fatigue and sleep.

In addition to the amount of light, the color of light also affects us on a neurophysiological level, and it is evident that happy and intense colors motivate us in a positive way, lifting our spirits. The abuse of white indoors, or the predominance of serious and sad colors such as gray or beige in the wardrobe, are other symptoms of depressive behavior.

As market research in marketing and advertising shows us, the color of light and objects affects our reflections, decision making and mood. For therapeutic purposes, the lighting and color of our architectural environment are the most influential, since the color of ceilings and walls, like that of furniture, remains for many years and influences us in a large area.

Architectural phototherapy

Fortunately, if we cannot get enough sun, Domobiotics offers us technical means to prevent that bipolar depression that reactivates every winter. A 30-minute light bath every morning with a full spectrum lamp is enough to stimulate brain neurotransmitters and lift a depressed mood. We can use a phototherapy lamp (10,000 lux) during breakfast, or at the work table, but the ideal is to carry out all the interior lighting with full spectrum light, since full spectrum light is precise for the mind, the endocrine system and immune system to function at full capacity.

Today we have modern full-spectrum fluorescent lamps, which produce a pure white illumination, similar to sunlight, which allows the correct observation of colors.

With the use of electronic ballasts that vibrate at 20,000 Hz, we eliminate visual fatigue and stress by avoiding light flickering. They also produce an instantaneous ignition, without primers or condensers, save electrical energy, extend the life of the tubes and eliminate elektrosmog.

We call "biodynamic" lighting the light that produces the same neurophysiological stimulus as sunlight. The architecture of light must therefore consider the diurnal and seasonal cycle, adjusting the quantity and quality of light and the conscious use of color, with chromotherapy criteria according to the use of each space. The correct use of color and lighting in our home can increase personal energy up to 85%, lift the spirits of the whole family, abandon Prozac and make the ghost of depression go away for good.

With the application of Domobiotics in the office, the entrepreneur will be able to observe an improvement in the socio-labor climate, and biodynamic lighting can produce an increase of up to 75% in productivity, with notable economic benefits.

* Carlos M. Requejo. Interior Architect.
Manager of JCC Gabinete de Calidad Ambiental SL Barcelona. Spain.
Tel +34 933 424 175 and www.domobiotik.com


Video: Natural Treatment for Depression- Light Therapy for Depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (July 2021).