Light sleeper

Light plays a significant role in how we function from day to day. Our light environment influences when and how well we sleep. Artificial lighting has added another dimension to our body clock’s relationship to the day. There is a level of complexity in light that triggers our biological workings. We respond not just to the intensity or brightness level, but the hue of the light – so the colour emitted is important. There is a new LED bulb that has been developed by Saffron, which is designed to mimic the brightness and hue of the sun throughout the day. It accounts for the mechanisms in which light is used to regulate our sleep.

Auto adjusting  bulb

Colour has a great influence over our sleeping and waking cycles. Our body clock, also known as circadian rhythms, releases hormones at certain times of the day to either wake us up or make us tired enough to sleep. As the day transitions to night there is a warm glow from the sun and then the stars, this hue in the light induces melatonin production, which makes our bodies begin to feel tired. However, during the middle of the day the sun shines an intense blueish light, causing our bodies to suppress the sleep-inducing hormones, keeping us awake and alert.

These light colour triggers that influence our circadian rhythms have a delicate balance. Recent studies have found that blasting your face with bright light before you go to bed disrupts the sleep cycle. Devices such as iPads emit a bluish-toned glow that tricks your body into waking up. We evolved without electricity and our brain’s biggest cue to sleep is darkness. However, with artificial lights we now have more light exposure at night and typically less light indoors during the day.

Technology is beginning to catch up with our technological lifestyles. Products, such as the Silk bulb by Saffron, are pitched as smart LED bulbs that adjust their colour temperature throughout the day to mimic the changing colour and glow of the sun. The device emits cool light in daylight and warm light at night time. Unlike other products on the market which require a smart device interface, the system can be controlled through existing light switches by using click patterns. The controls allow users to dim and change the colour hue outside of its normal programme.

Rather than turning on when you enter a room, the system is designed to be continuously on, providing a consistency of light as if you were living without walls. Society has developed to a point where our devices are an extension of our interface with life. Emulating a more natural setting, these smart home systems are countering the effects of our smart device lives. One more step towards finding a new balance, in the pursuit towards a new nature.

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