More well-being with biologically effective light
When it comes to Human Centric Lighting or HCL, people and their well-being are the focus of lighting design. In light planning, therefore, it’s important to ensure that people feel comfortable in their surroundings, that they can orientate themselves more easily and that fear zones are avoided. How does this work? Human Centric Lighting supports the circadian rhythm of a human being – popularly known as the internal clock – and deliberately attempts to recreate the natural daylight course with different color temperatures and illuminance levels.
What does biologically effective light mean?
Over the course of several millions of years people have become a daylight creature that is accustomed to daylight and its different effects as well as to the natural day-night rhythm. Over time we evolved more and more into a global 24-hour society, whose everyday life seems to be detached from the usual day and night routine. This is not only a questionable aspect regarding a disturbed sleep-wake cycle, but can also have negative effects on our health, our psyche and our well-being. In order to best support the biological, emotional and psychological effects of light on our internal clock, artificial light should always be based on daylight and integrated in the course of the day.
❞ Over time we evolved into a global 24-hour society, whose everyday life seems to be detached from the usual day and night routine. ❝
How does Human Centric Lighting work?
Light is probably the strongest and most effective timer for the biological rhythm. That is why Human Centric Lighting is trying to recreate the natural daylight process by using different color temperatures and illuminance levels in order to compensate for many people’s chronic lack of daylight. Especially bright light in the midday hours can prevent an afternoon tiredness, since white light with an increased blue component or light with high color temperature can lead to an increased attention. Responsible for this are the so-called ganglion cells in the retina of the human eye: The maximum sensitivity for the hormone melanopsin is at a wavelength of 490 nm. This means that the hormone is stimulated particularly strongly in the event of a blue light. As a result, the release of melatonin – a hormone that causes fatigue and sluggishness – is suppressed. The melanopic effect of light thus provides more energy and a higher ability to concentrate. This also affects our everyday lives: fatigue and sluggishness, such as be avoided by light with a higher proportion of blue, while a restful night’s sleep is initiated by relaxing and subdued light in the evening. Switching on a bathroom light with a high proportion of blue, on the other hand, can lead to an artificially induced waking phase and thus to short-term insomnia.
What types of HCL do we distinguish?
Human Centric Lighting as the latest trend in the lighting industry? Not quite. The Human Centric Lighting principle has been used for more than ten years for lighting design – at that time still predominantly with fluorescent lamps. Although an HCL lighting design can not only be realized with LEDs, the LED technology offers a few decisive advantages: LEDs are usually available in different color temperatures and can be integrated into other luminaires side by side by means of a mostly very compact installation space. In the application of Human Centric Lighting we differentiate between four basic application possibilities:
Light for the maintenance of health
Light supports the human day-night rhythm: Targeted lighting can have a positive effect on health and performance through changes in light color and intensity – similar to daylight.
Light for activation
Light supports attention: The activating effect – especially of colder light colors – increases cognitive performance and concentration.
Light for relaxing
Light contributes to rest and relaxation: By adjusting the color or intensity of the light individually – for example, by warmer colors – the well-being can be increased.
Light for staging
Lighting sets accents: The creation of different light spaces triggers certain emotions that affect the state of mind and mood. The targeted staging of an object through an individual lighting design can, for example, trigger enthusiasm or well-being.
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