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Improve Your Health and Well-Being with a Circadian Lighting Scheme

Researching the benefits of circadian lighting for your overall health and well-being, you decide it’s time to create a home lighting scheme that supports your body’s natural circadian rhythm.

Surveying each room in your home, you consider what lighting choices could be made to ensure your body is alert during the day but relaxed during the evening. In the bedroom, choosing warm bulbs and dimmable lights and lamps creates the perfect atmosphere for unwinding before bed, while task lighting is a must for practical spaces like the kitchen and living room.

Discover how to create a circadian lighting scheme in your home that promotes a healthy sleep routine and leaves you feeling energised throughout the day.

What is a circadian lighting scheme and why is it important?

A circadian lighting scheme is designed to follow the natural sleep/wake cycles of the human body. By sending light signals to the brain, it lets our bodies know to wind down and sleep at night, and be alert and energised during the day.

We’re all exposed to artificial lighting throughout the day, but excessive or poorly timed exposure to various conflicting artificial light sources can disrupt our body’s internal clock. This is a big problem in the evenings especially – many people continue using the same bright lighting they were exposed to in the day rather than switching to more relaxing lighting, which can negatively impact mood, concentration, and sleep.

Adopting a circadian lighting scheme in your home could help improve your health, productivity, and overall well-being by ensuring your body is able to properly switch off at the end of the day.

How to create a circadian lighting scheme at home

We know circadian lighting is important to improve our sleep and general health, but how do we go about introducing this type of lighting into our homes?

There are several simple ways that you can adapt your existing lighting scheme to make it more in sync with your body’s circadian rhythm.

1. Choose warm bulbs for the bedroom

The light bulbs we choose for our bedroom lighting fixtures can have a huge impact on our circadian rhythm.

‘Choosing light bulbs with a warm colour temperature that mimics sunset will send signals to your brain that activate hormones ready for relaxation and sleep’, says Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, lighting expert and co-founder of Dowsing & Reynolds.

Image courtesy of @kylejosephinteriors

If you currently have cool light bulbs in your bedroom, this could be disrupting your sleep and negatively impacting your mood and productivity. ‘Daylight bulbs or bulbs with a cooler, blue-toned colour temperature make you feel wide awake, ready to focus and get stuff done’, says Ally. This makes them impractical for the bedroom where the goal is to switch off and unwind.

If you want your bedroom lighting to give off a cosy warm hue, always choose bulbs with a colour temperature of around 2700 Kelvins (K). Any bulb with a colour temperature of 3000K or above will be too cool and won’t help you switch off properly before bed.

Product pick: Add a traditional quad loop filament LED bulb to your bedroom lights to get the ideal warm glow.

Image courtesy of @honor_oak_house

2. Transition from day to night with dimmer switches

‘Using dimmer switches to lower lighting in the evening is one way to help regulate your circadian rhythm later in the day and prepare your body for sleep’, says Ally.

Adding dimmer switches to the lighting fixtures in your living room and bedroom will allow you to transition your lighting from day to night with ease. The lights can be turned up to maximum brightness when needed during the day and lowered in the evening to mimic the setting of the sun outside.

Opt for a single, double, triple, or even quadruple dimmer switch depending on how many different light sources you have in your room, or a combination switch if you only want some of the lights to be dimmable.

“Have a dimmer switch to control your big overhead lights, enabling you to set the perfect ambience at any time of day.”

Ally Dowsing-Reynolds, lighting expert and co-founder of Dowsing & Reynolds

3. Layer different light sources

‘In multi-purpose spaces, layer your lighting so that it has different colour temperatures and levels appropriate to the time of day you use it: cool for the daytime and warm for the evening’, says Ally.

Layering your lighting is a simple but effective way to make sure you have lighting that is suitable for different times of day. This allows your lighting scheme to adapt throughout the day in alignment with your body’s circadian rhythm.

Image courtesy of @deborahfitz_interiors_

There are three different types of lighting to consider when creating a layered lighting scheme:

  • Ambient lighting: This is the general lighting that provides overall illumination in a room and is typically provided by ceiling lights. Cool bulbs are most commonly used for ambient lighting fixtures to ensure the space is well-lit during the day, but it might be wise to put them on a dimmer switch so the brightness can be reduced in the evenings.
  • Task lighting: This type of lighting accentuates specific areas of a room and is used to illuminate tasks. In the kitchen, task lighting might consist of pendant lights with cool bulbs, whilst your bedroom or living room task lighting might include table lamps with warm bulbs.
  • Accent lighting: This lighting is used to draw attention to key elements of the décor in a room. Warm wall lights that highlight artwork are a good example and can also be used to create a relaxing evening ambience.

Show us your circadian lighting schemes

We’d love to see how you’ve introduced circadian lighting into your home to improve your health and well-being. Tag us @dowsingandreynolds on Instagram – we can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with!

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