There is undoubtedly a lot of peripheral light in our lives, including neon signs, fluorescent lights, and computer screens. Additionally, that light may appear to your circadian rhythms as a lot of unnecessary noise. Fortunately, you can reduce the effects of unwanted light—at least in your home—with smart lighting and scheduled scenes, which will keep you alert during the day and aid in falling asleep quickly at night.
Researchers who examine how light affects neurology have found a consistent pattern: cool, white light seems to increase mental activity and productivity, while soft, warm light triggers the release of melatonin, a hormone that precedes sleep. It has been demonstrated that color “temperature,” or more specifically, the proportion of blue (‘cool’) or yellow (‘warm’) wavelengths in a light source, has a significant impact on our sleep and, consequently, our general health.
Sadly, modern appliances and lighting have a tendency to be on the chilly side. Standard LEDs may be more environmentally friendly, but they typically produce a bluish light, which is not the best for getting ready for bed. In one experiment, for instance, researchers varied the amount of green and blue light participants were exposed to before surveying how alert they felt and using an EEG to measure how their brains were functioning. Blue light and alertness were positively correlated, as evidenced by both the test results and participant responses.
However, makers of smart devices are making great efforts to assist in the solution of this issue. Your home can be programmed to change from blue to yellow light as the day wears on, which will increase the production of the hormone melatonin.
Let’s face it: a lot of us are somewhat dependent on television. But exposing ourselves to that light at night can make the nights more restless. Researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center found that as little as two hours of screen time before bedtime can have an effect on your body’s melatonin production.
Digital screens can affect your level of alertness similarly to bright LEDs because they have a bluish tint. Your television and smart devices can be put to sleep by a command-activated scene, allowing you to get some rest yourself.
An overhead light can really only do so much. Task lighting can be installed in kitchens, offices, garages, or really anywhere you need to concentrate on lessening headaches and eyestrain. Using overhead recessed lights in the bedroom that are pointed at the pillow can also provide some advantages of ceiling lights without overexposing your body to light just before bed. Additionally, automation makes it incredibly simple to turn on additional lighting systems. The lights can be set up to correspond to an activity. For instance, if you have a home automation system you can simply tap a “Cooking” button to turn on under-cabinet lighting, increase kitchen pendant and can illumination to 100%, and start your favorite cooking playlist playing overhead because it syncs with other devices and systems.
Installing bias lights—a backlighting system that sits behind your TV or computer screen—can help reduce eyestrain in the living room. Use bulbs with a 6500K color temperature, which is the same as the light that illuminates your screen. Your eyes won’t have to work as hard to adjust to the contrast between the bright digital light and the surrounding darkness in this way. In fact, if you don’t feel like finding the right bulbs yourself, some smart TVs include bias lighting features.
A well-lit home simply feels cozier and can enhance your decor and interior design. Smart controls also make it slightly simpler to control a wider range of lighting conditions. Your comfort and ease are, after all, the most important factors when it comes to your home life.