We all know that sleeping is one of the most important requirements to survive. The lack of sleep affects concentration, productivity and most importantly the living quality of the following day.
To be more healthy, energetic and productive, it is important to have enough amount of qualified sleep in right ambiance.First of all, it is important to understand the benefits of right sleeping in right conditions.
- Sleeping and the Circadian System
- Healthy Sleep Requirements
- Light and Sleep
- Lighting Essentials
- Lighting Sources
- Lighting Types
Sleeping and the Circadian System
Circadian system is the internal clock of the body that is alerting all the parts of the body and it is what keeps us in a health sync during the 24 hours. In a simple saying, it is the inner clock that tells us to sleep and wake up.
Circadian system is fed by environmental conditions and our actions for example sunlight, eating, activities, and darkness. However, it is a flexible system that can change or let us extend our sleeping and waking hours.
What is the key of building healthy circadian system?
Having a healthy sleep and environmental matching circadian system, it is possible to have healthy sleep, therefore healthy, nutrition, healthy day and healthy life.
How does circadian system rules our sleep?
The irregular schedule can affect the circadian system and creates a misalignment between the biological clock and the outside world. This creates a big effect over sleeping. When this clock is not matching with the outside world, on the time of sleeping body can be alerted to stay awake, and the next day, during daily activities, a body can be alerted that it is time to sleep.
What is the healthy sleep?
In order to have a healthy sleep, some statements must be happening.
- Falling asleep within 15-20 minutes
- Regular 7-9 sleeping hours on 27 hours
- Continuous sleep during the whole night
- Waking up refreshed and feeling alert for the daily activities.
How much sleep do we need?
For the adults, an average amount of sleep is 7-9 hours on a daily basis. The amount of sleep can change according to the lifestyles and age. Howeverü the lack of sleep affects people in different ways.
Which kind of sleeping environment do we need?
The environmental conditions are giving a direction to our sleeping hours and also the quality of the healthy sleep. Providing a convenient environment for the sleeping hours is important. There are important statements that need to be cared in the sleeping area. Among these factors, one of the most important ones is the lighting of the bedroom.
Effect of light over sleeping
Light has a great impact over sleeping. The lack of light is sending a sleeping time alert to the body which makes darkness essential for sleeping hours. As the circadian system is affected by environmental conditions, strong light exposure during the sleeping hours can affect the circadian system and alert body according to the daytime. This condition can delay or interrupt the transition for the sleeping activity.
What is the color spectrum of light?
The light is made up of different range of wavelengths. The visible color spectrum of light is changing according to these wavelengths. The colors spectrum of light includes hot and cold colors which affect body in different ways.
Which color spectrum do we need to use while sleeping?
According to the many experiments done, the red light has a helping effect over sleeping while blue light is alerting the body according to the daytime.
The power of natural lighting
The natural lighting is ruling the circadian system of the body. The natural light during the night prepares the body for sleeping hours while the direct sunlight is the most natural and effective alarm clock to wake up.
Is it true to be in total darkness?
Even mostly said that the darkness is the best for the sleeping hours, it is not valid for every condition. Even that the bedroom must be kept as dark as possible, according to the needs, there can be a light source that won’t affect the sleeping quality but will help to create the most convenient sleeping ambiance.
Measuring the light: lux and lumen
To improve the sleeping quality, choosing the convenient light is not always solving the problem. There are two main measurements that should be considered: lux and lumen.
Lumen, is the measurement of the brightness intensity of the light which is the light source itself. When light is traveling from its source, it is spreading, dispersing and the intensity is decreasing. Therefore, not the intensity of the light matters the most but the distance, the exposure of the light also needs to be considered.
Lux, is taking the lumen values affecting the surface area. Lumen is the brightness of the light, and the lux is the effect of this light in the room, how bright is the room.
What is the convenient lighting level?
To provide a healthy sleeping environment, the exposure of the light in the bedroom is very important. After knowing that red lights are more convenient for the sleeping environment, it is important that the level of the light must be dimmed as much as possible to keep the level down.
Distance and the Direction of the light
When it comes to the question how to arrange the most convenient lighting for the sleeping hours, the lux and the lumen must be considered first. The intensity and the brightness of the light source is important to consider that it would change according to the distance from the light source. Not only the distance but the spread of the light into the room is effective.
What should be the light source?
These traditional bulbs are the ones that are used the most. They are in the color of soft white, and they are providing diffuse and warm light. They are accepted to be energy efficient but they can be convenient for the general lighting of the bedroom.
The halogen bulbs are the source of whitest light that is closest to the daylight. Therefore for the bedroom, it is not a good choice. Another disadvantage of this bulbs is that they become so hot and can burn the skin.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFBs)
These spiral-shaped bulbs are so much being preferred for their particularity about being energy sufficient, and they last ten times more than incandescent bulbs. Unfortunately, the bad side of these bulbs is that they emit blue lights which is not convenient to prefer for the bedroom. If you want to use this kind of bulbs in your bedroom, it should be placed at least five feet away from the bed which is enough for the blue light to drop off.
Light Emitting Diode Bulbs (LEDs)
These small dome-shaped dot like lights are popular about consuming less energy and being cool all the time. The only disadvantage of these lights is that they cannot be directed, they are one directional. These lights are good choices for the task lighting. They also provide more blue lights than the other light sources.
Red Bulbs are the ones that are the most convenient for the sleeping. They are in less interaction with the eye and less affecting the circadian system.
Types of light sources:
Flush – Mount
Ambient Lights – Cove Lighting
Bedside – Nightstand Lights
The most convenient lighting for the bedroom occurs at three levels.
- General lighting
- Bedside (Reading) Lighting
- Sleeping time Lighting
For general lighting, the color and the level of the light is not important because these lights can be used until two hours to sleep. In general lighting, it is possible to install hidden lighting (indirect lighting) or some track lighting which will highlight the important corners of the room. The cove lighting installed on the wall and the ceiling can create a balanced illumination for the bedroom.
For the second phase, it is also important to have bedside lighting for pre-sleeping activities such as reading. For these lights, it is important to avoid the blue light spectrum to be able to sleep easily. Bedside lamps, headboard mounted lamps and nightstands can be preferred with warm colored bulbs.
To have a continuous and healthy sleep, the bedroom should be as dark as possible. Choosing small, red bulbs are the most convenient for the sleeping time. These lights can prepare the most convenient ambiance for the sleeping, and they will guide the way inside of the room.