We are creatures of the sun and the light is calling a lot more shots than what we might think. Our circadian rhythm, the 24 hour cycle that organizes our daily biological routines, is dependent on light to set its clock. When you have jet lag, or when you changes shifts at work, it’s the circadian rhythm being disrupted. Most people know that changing to the graveyard shift is difficult and getting over jet lag is awful- but less dramatic disruptions are often the root cause of a lot of frustration. Bright, cool lights in your bedroom or dim yellow lights in your kitchen could be making your family irritable, ruining their sleep, or contributing to poor school performance.
Simple, smart changes to how you light each room in your home can dramatically improve your daily mood, sleep, and even cognition.
What Kinds of Lights Go Where?
Choosing the best lighting for your rooms starts with choosing the kind of light sources. How do you know if LED ceiling lights for living room are best, or what color light to get? While incandescent or fluorescent lights may be more familiar, the best options by far are new LED technology. LED lights are much more precise, available in every brightness you could need and every light color you’re looking for. LED lights make it easy to find the correct kind of light for a room – each are labeled according to the kind of light you want.
Light temperature will help you get the correct light bulb for the activity you need.
Light temperatures of 3000-3500k are a neutral or even a cooler color and are best for morning or day activities where you need to be awake and alert (think kitchen or a home office), while 2700k-2200 are relaxing, warm light colors, perfect for a bedroom or den. Lumen counts listed on the bulbs will tell you if you will have enough light for the intended activities. An LED light bulb with only 200 lumens might be perfect for your bedside lamp, but you’ll want much more light where you’ll be shaving or putting on makeup.
Relaxing or Invigorating
The circadian rhythm is greatly influenced by the light you’re exposed to. Each room’s lighting should be determined by assessing the function of the room. Your kitchen lighting shouldn’t be the same as the lighting in your bedroom or bath. Bright, neutral or blue-toned light mimics daylight, and helps to wake us up and keep us concentrating. Soft, warm white light is best for bedrooms or dining rooms where the main purpose is to relax or spend quiet time. We know that reading your phone before bed can make it much more difficult to settle into sleep, and the same concepts apply to light in your room. Reading a real paper book by the soft, warm light coming from dimmable bedside sconces helps your brain know that work is over and it’s almost time to sleep.
Multi-tasking Lighting for Multi-functional Spaces
Knowing how your family utilizes (or would like to utilize) the spaces you’re updating is crucial to making the choices that aid your natural cycle rather than trying to fight it. In the modern home, most rooms are multi-functional; your office may be a guest room in a pinch, and the kids might do their homework each night in the formal dining room.
Addressing these different needs is as simple as layering the light sources within a space.
In a bathroom for instance, you may want bright light for waking up and getting ready for the day, but more gentle light for relaxing evening baths. Choose an LED vanity with bright neutral light (3000k light temperature and a lumen output of more than 1500) and a dimmable overhead flush mount with a warmer feel (2200K light temperature and maybe 1000 or less lumens). In another example, dimmable LED ceiling lights for the living room paired with some simple table lamps allow the space to be functional as both a study hall and a recreational space.
Sunlight is the best kind of light for supporting your natural rhythm, but not every room in the home can have the good luck of having an abundance of windows and good exposure throughout the day. LED lights are a great solution to many functional and architectural limitations. Having a dimmable, bright LED light source in say, a finished basement, can make the space infinitely more usable. Using warm, dimmable LED bulbs in a grand chandelier is not only effective lighting for a welcoming entrance space, but is especially useful for homes with very high ceilings – all that function and no need to change the bulbs for a decade.
Using lighting in your home to support your natural circadian rhythm can be extremely effective in improving your moods, your sleep, and your performance at work or school.
Choosing the correct lighting for the correct space can help chase away the winter blues and assist in getting the kids settled down before bed. By using all the tools available and all that we know about our sleep cycle, it’s easy to tailor the light in your home to be a source of positive energy and assist your biological and emotional health.
With a background in design and lighting, Sheva, along with her husband, David, launched Lights.com, an alternative shopping experience featuring modern, affordable, direct-to-consumer lighting.