Much of our daily lives involve lighting. We see lighting everywhere in office lighting, home fixtures, and even our phone screens. The lighting we use influences how we feel throughout the day. This can differ depending on what color temperature or wavelength the light gives off.
Correlated Color Temperature measures, in Kelvins (K), the color of the white light emitted by a light source. This color can range in appearance from a warm yellow to a cool blue hue.
Color temperature can measure between 1000K to 10000K. Most LED light bulbs fall between 2700K and 5000K.
Bright or cool white lights in offices can boost productivity, while a soft, yellow color temperature creates a comfortable, cozy atmosphere at home. Why is that?
The separate wavelengths of light that a light source emits place differing effects on the body. This includes lamps, light bulbs, electronics, and even the sun! Blue wavelengths offer the most marked effect on the body.
Blue wavelengths, like those emitted by LED lights and the sun, can boost mood, attention, and reaction times.
During the day, use LED lights with a color temperature between 4000K-5000K at home or in the office to keep people focused and productive.
At night, however, the CDC warns that blue light can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. Some researchers claim this is because light suppresses the hormone melatonin. They argue that while any amount of light at night will suppress melatonin production, blue light suppresses it the most.
This shifts our circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock. In turn, it can change our sleeping patterns and quality of sleep. Lack of sleep, or low-quality sleep, may increase risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
If you want to limit your exposure to blue light at night, consider using a red light bulb instead. The CDC says a dim red light has no effect on our circadian rhythm. Similarly, yellow and orange lights offer very little effect on the body.
Turning off all lights as soon as the sun goes down may not be a viable solution. Instead, there are a few ways you can change your lights to make them more conducive to a productive daytime work environment and a better night’s sleep.
While dimming does not affect the color temperature, it can help lower the brightness of your lights before bedtime.
Unlike a dimmer switch, tunable lighting allows you to change the color temperature of the bulb instead of the brightness.
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