While natural light gets most of the attention this time of year-especially for those who observe daylight saving time-the lighting inside your home can also significantly affect your seasonal routine and overall health.
An easy way to experience a more restful spring and stay healthy year-round is with the right lighting at the right time. Lighting helps keep your body in sync with the rhythms it instinctively desires. So, how do these natural rhythms function?
Biological rhythms are the natural cycle of change in our body’s chemicals or functions. It’s like an internal master “clock” that coordinates the other clocks in your body. It’s made up of thousands of nerve cells that help sync your body’s functions and activities. The circadian clock plays a physical, mental, and behavioral role that responds to light and dark.
This clock helps regulate functions that include:
- sleep schedule
- body temperature
- hormone levels
- daily performance
- blood pressure
- reaction times
Practice Daypart Lighting
The majority of the country divides their living and working hours into dayparts of morning, afternoon and night. However, the lighting they use stays the same even as tasks vary and our bodies move from one internal rhythm to the next.
One easy way to stay on track is to mirror the colors and temperature of outside light, inside the walls of your home. For example, yellow (sunrise) in the morning, blue and white during the day, and red and orange (sunset) in the evening.
Say No to Blue Light at Night
Turning off all devices well before bedtime is another way to practice daypart lighting. When the sky gets dark outside it prepares your body to wind down for a peaceful night’s sleep. Alternatively, the screens on your phone, laptop and tablet emit blue light sending mixed signals to your brain and communicating the need to be alert and focused.
Evaluate the Light in Your Life
Whether you set your clock forward one hour this weekend or not, take note of the signals your body’s clock is sending and consider implementing more daypart lighting for your mental and physical health.
- Amber Erickson Gabbey, Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA , “What Are Biological Rythms,” Healthline (blog), February 1, 2019, /www.healthline.com/health/biological-rhythms/.