Brink and colleagues evaluated links between college/university classroom conditions and student performance. They report that their literature review determined that “Warm white light provides a relaxing environment and supports communication, and should gradually change to blue-enriched white light after its prolonged use during the morning to prevent drowsiness. . . . these different correlated color temperatures imitates the natural change of daylight during the day and therefore supports teachers' and students' circadian rhythm.. . .
Peeters, Smolders, and de Kort report on variations in lighting experiences among people working in the same office. The researchers report that when they “tracked office workers’ personal exposure during two three-week field intervention studies, one in winter, one in late spring. . . . the person-based data revealed large differences between - and within - participants in terms of light received at the eye. . . . When designing the lighting plan for a space, the location and placement of light fixtures is a factor that should be considered.
Investigators have found that varying lighting in nursing homes during the course of the day, so that light intensity and color mimics lighting conditions outdoors, supports better sleep among residents. Baier, Miller, McCreedy, Uth, Wetle, Noell-Waggoner, Stringer, and Gifford, used data collected from study participants with an average age of 88 to better understand sleep related issues among nursing home residents: “Nursing home residents tend to fall asleep at all hours of the day, and during the night, their sleep may be interrupted by periods of wakefulness. . .
The Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer is making available, at the web address noted below, an information-packed video that will be useful both to people designing lightscapes and also to anyone working from home. At the source website, the LRC shares that it “has released a new video on how to maintain good sleep while working from home, or quarantining indoors, which is becoming more commonplace during the coronavirus pandemic.
Effects on performance and alertness
Research completed by McCunn and colleagues confirms the value of allowing people some control over their physical environment. The investigators report that data they collected from nurses working at several locations and analyzed revealed “A theme of environmental control over both overhead and task lighting. . . . controllability was among the ‘best’ lighting attributes. . . . Daylighting was also considered to be among the best attributes. Control over light level via additional dimming capability for patients, as well as additional light sources, was prominent. . . .
Research lead by Paksarian and Merikangas, and published in JAMA Psychiatry, confirms that nighttime light can have undesirable consequences. Investigators determined that “adolescents [13-18 years olds] who live in areas that have high levels of artificial light at night tend to get less sleep and are more likely to have a mood disorder relative to teens who live in areas with low levels of night-time light. . . . Daily rhythms, including the circadian rhythms that drive our sleep-wake cycles, are thought to be important factors that contribute to physical and mental health.
Our emotional, cognitive, and physical wellbeing are linked to the light in the space we’re in; whether it is natural or artificial, dim or bright, cool or warm. Neuroscience research reveals how designers can use light indoors to positively affect humans’ experiences at home, work, school, or wherever they might be and whatever they're doing.
Very handy, open access
Researchers at the Lighting Research Center confirm the value of spending time in brightly lit spaces. They share that “The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is investigating the impacts of working from home or quarantining indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic on individual daily light exposures, and how this may be affecting sleep quality and psychological health. In May 2020, the LRC invited people who had been staying home due to the pandemic to complete a short survey about their sleep, mood, and daily light exposure. . .