6 Surprising Health Benefits of Smart Lighting September 14, 2016 00:00
With the invention of smart lighting, fumbling for switches and struggling to set the mood are now problems of the past. It’s obvious this new and improved way of lighting your home makes life easier, but you might be surprised to find it has some little-known health benefits too.
Here are 6 ways equipping your home with smart lighting can improve your health:
1. Less falls in dim light
With the addition of smart lighting to your living environment, if you’ve got a phone then you have complete control over your home’s lighting. That means no more having to get off the couch to turn the lights down so you can tune into a Saturday night movie, no more snuggling into bed only to realize you left the kitchen light on at the other end of the house. Instead, all you have to do is reach into your pocket and turn them down right from your phone.
While so far this might seem like simply a neat little feature, consider the more serious benefits of avoiding late night collisions and falls on the way to the bathroom. The CDC cites over 700,000 hospitalizations occur each year due to a fall, 20% of which occur in the lower light conditions of nighttime.
That’s over 140,000 cases that might have been averted had there been proper illumination. With smart lighting, avoiding accidents like these is even easier because every light switch you need is right next to you in your phone.
2. Lowered anxiety
There’s nothing worse than stepping onto a plane for a much-needed vacation and wondering whether or not you left the lights on. We’ve all been there, and we all know that once a thought like that gets in your head, it’s not leaving until you get home. Smart lighting enables you to be constantly connected to your home base so you can check if your lights are on from anywhere in the world!
Another feature that adds to the anxiety-reducing health benefits of smart lighting is the security advantages it can create. Many systems allow you to set up a timer right from your phone that cues your interior lights to flick on at a certain time. What’s more, you could even have varied plans, where different lights turn on and off in alternating patterns, giving potential intruders the impression that someone is definitely home. You could even take it one step further and sync up your motion detectors to interior lights so if anyone sneaks around the back of your home, BAM! the living room lights up like a pinball machine, scaring off any would-be thieves.
3. Start the day better
The advent of smart lighting has spawned the development of what are called “dawn simulators”. Also known as “artificial dawn”, this particular lighting system is (yep, you guessed it) a way to mimic the rising of the sun right in your bedroom.
You early birds out there may not understand this one, but some people have a hard time getting up in the wee hours of the morning. The alarm buzzes away and four snooze cycles later, you’re rushing out the door tying a tie with one hand and brushing your teeth with the other.
If that morning routine sounds all too familiar, you may benefit from a dawn simulator. Instead of the harsh and grating beep of an alarm to rouse you from your slumber, dawn simulators slowly emit more and more light to gently wake you from sleep.
While you may think you detect a bit of spiritual mumbo jumbo to this, the science in fact supports this method of waking up as leading to a more energized day, due in part to its effects on balancing melatonin and cortisol levels in your body. Can’t argue with that, can you?
4. Alter light to suit your mood or goals
One of the most exciting aspects of smart lighting is being able to control exactly how bright or dim your environment is from wherever you want. Taken one step further, many companies have even started developing color changing bulbs such as the Flux Smart WiFi and Bluetooth LED dimmable and color changing bulbs, boasting an impressive range of over 16 million different colors! And while changing the brightness and color of any room you want is certainly an aesthetic benefit of smart lighting, this control also offers up a few surprising health benefits as well.
Take for instance the influence bright light can have on your psyche. There are many studies out there that point to the psychological benefits of getting your daily dose of light, due in part to the somewhat recent classification of seasonal affective disorder (SAD) as a physical ailment which we’ll get into later.
One aspect of light brightness that is as well-known though is that bright lights has been shown to make depression even worse. The Wall Street Journal recently published a story highlighting several studies which found that strong ambient light seems to intensify emotions, i.e., happy subjects felt happier while sad subjects felt even sadder. In contrast, dimmer lighting seemed to give way to a calmer, more rational state of mind. Additionally, there’s an entire form of therapy (though not wholly proven by studies) devoted to treating disorders solely with various colors of light. Even still, what sounds more calming than relaxing after work in an aqua blue lit room?
5. Treat the winter blues
Seasonal affective disorder has made its way into the scientific community in recent decades and was only first reported and named in the early 1980s. The disorder itself is due to the reduction of natural light due to the shorter days and less intense sun of winter. The lack of sunshine can create in some people major depression, altered circadian rhythm (the body’s day/night cycle), as well as disrupted hormonal patterns. So if you’ve always felt a wave of significant and long-depression come on with those gray months, you may want to do some research on SAD or speak to your doctor.
The most widely accepted and utilized treatment of the disorder is “light therapy”. This involves “daily exposure to a box containing fluorescent lamps during the symptomatic months”, with the optimal dose being 10,000 lux of full spectrum or cool white fluorescent light.
While light boxes’ surge in popularity has inspired an enormous range of designs, certain smart bulb manufacturers have begun focusing on providing full spectrum light as well.
6. Save the environment
Last but certainly not least, smart lighting technology contributes to the worldwide effort of reducing our environmental footprint. Using smart, energy-efficient light bulbs in your home means we have to burn less fossil fuels, which ultimately translates to less toxic gas emission. And when it comes to energy consumption, light bulbs have come a mighty long way from the incandescent bulbs of yesteryear.
LED fixtures typically have a lifetime of around 50,000 hours which, if used for 12 hours a day, would last more than 11 years. Traditional incandescents on the other hand will only stay lit for about 2,000 hours, or less than half a year.
The extra-long comparable life of the LED comes from the fact that almost 90% of the energy put into incandescent lamps is lost in the form of heat whereas LED lights give off barely any. When you factor in having to toss less burnt out bulbs as well, “lighting homes and businesses with more efficient products,” as the U.S. Department of Energy puts it, “is one of the easiest ways to reduce America’s reliance on fossil fuels and save money.”
What do you think?
How many of these health benefits did you know? Are there any we missed?
Let us know in the comments, then start the journey to an easier, healthier life by checking out some of Flux Smart’s fun, energy-efficient products.