Lighting for Health and Well-being

by Sunni Raney | October 16, 2020 | Alden Miller Interiors, Design Lab

As many of us use our existing interior space to accommodate working and attending school from home, it is important to understand how lighting can affect productivity and the crucial role it plays in our overall well-being.

An understanding of the human circadian rhythm helps make appropriate lighting adjustments to align with our internal biological clock. This alignment can positively affect our mood, sleep, and awareness. Once we align properly, we can attempt to maximize performance by engaging in activities based on knowledge of the 24-hour body clock.

By following the circadian rhythm, we can anticipate when we may be more energetic and alert (late-morning), have better coordination and reaction time (mid-afternoon), or get the deepest sleep (after midnight). Understanding how alertness and mood are stimulated by natural circadian rhythm, informs the best lighting to use in a home office or school space.  

Circadian Stimulus – Different LED color temperatures can manipulate lighting quality based on the tasks we conduct. Studies show that cooler/brighter light can increase focus and productivity and warmer/softer light can create a welcoming and relaxed space.

Blue Light Manipulation – With the help of tunable LED lighting, we can benefit tremendously from blue light by introducing it to a space at the right time. For example, a high intensity of blue light early in the day can boost morning alertness. A home office or classroom can benefit from tunable LED lighting, especially during daylight savings time.

Focus Light – Studies show significant positive impact of ‘focus light’ on reading fluency for young kids. They can read faster, make fewer mistakes, show improved concentration, and maintain a longer attention span with the proper lighting. In general, brighter, cooler tones support activities that require concentration and focus, and warmer, dimmer light to support creative and social activities.

Blue Light Disruption – There is one caveat with blue light. Blue light is a bright and cool correlated color temperature; it commonly presents itself in bright daylight. A commonly known disruption to the circadian rhythm, blue light is associated with being active and alert so being exposed to blue light before bedtime will disrupt the secretion of neurochemicals like melatonin that helps us sleep. Other forms of blue light can be found in digital devices like our smartphones and computer screen. So, put that phone away or put on blue lighter filter funky glasses after the sun goes down!

Alden Miller Interiors can help with lighting selections for your home with your circadian rhythm in mind. From engaging with a lighting designer to create a whole house lighting plan to replacing and selecting light fixtures, we can meet our clients’ needs. Reach out to us via email at if you are ready to collaborate on your home improvement or redesign projects.