The connection between humans and light is nothing new. With more and more studies being performed to look more closely at this relationship, the foundation for the connection is pretty widely accepted. When it comes to this unique correlation between the two, understanding how lighting affects our emotions can play a role in finding the right lighting solutions. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the ways light affects emotions.
The most noticeable way lighting can affect our emotions is by disrupting or promoting the naturally occurring sleep cycle called the circadian rhythm. When humans are exposed to lights which mimic the sun by ways of color temperature, it can tell the brain to stay alert instead of winding down into the relaxed state of mind needed to switch to resting. The blue wavelengths found in certain types of lighting, such as cooler temperatures, computer screens, and other blue wavelength prone lights, can cause the inability to fall asleep, as well as poor quality of sleep by tricking the brain into staying alert which doesn’t allow for the deep REM cycle needed for a good night’s rest. This doesn’t mean blue wavelength lighting is bad. It is useful during the day time or when concentration is needed since it helps with focus. The key is to avoid it prior to bed time.
Another way lighting affects emotions is related to depression and seasonal disorders. Many people find themselves depressed during the months of the year when there is less sunlight. This is a common problem and researchers have found the way to combat it is to use artificial lighting to mimic the sun’s rays.
Lighting can even play a role in our abilities to make a decision. Studies have found that certain lighting can encourage impulsivity and over spending. When lights are brighter, people tend to make better, more well-thought out decisions as opposed to dimmer lights which encourage impulsive decision making. On the flip side, bright lighting can be used to improve the mood and create a sense of optimism which can impact purchases made on an emotional foundation such as an engagement ring.
There are lots of ways lighting can play a role in how we feel. While we know a lot about this topic already, more research is being done regularly to form new connections between humans and light.