How To Battle Fatigue With A Little-Known Lighting Hack January 12, 2017 00:00
You’ve tried it all: energy drinks, power naps, cup after cup of coffee, even a quick jog around the house. But no matter what you do, you still can’t break away from feeling drained throughout the day.
You’re not sick, you keep your meals reasonably healthy, and you’re no stranger to exercise. So what’s the problem?
Believe it or not, it could be the lights that are draining your energy.
Shining some light on Fatigue
While true, this idea may sound a bit conspiracy theory-ish (“it’s in the light bulbs I tell you!”), the effects of lighting on your body aren’t an issue to be taken, pardon the pun, lightly.
Consider the recent news about the importance of limiting “screen time” before bed. That’s not just about tearing yourself away from that last round of Candy Crush; it concerns the actual physical alteration of your body’s sleep mechanisms.
It isn’t just your sleeping state that’s affected by your computer before bed either. Besides the obvious fatigue throughout the day following a bad night’s sleep, some of your body’s natural processes might be a bit off as well.
You see, specific functions are regulated by your internal clock or “circadian rhythm”. And when that circadian rhythm is knocked off track (by the overuse of blue light emitting devices right before you turn in for the night perhaps) then everything else tied to it can be thrown off schedule too.
But enough lecturing. We’ve all heard this before, right? A better night’s sleep is an obvious way to feel more energized tomorrow. What else can you do to help fight off fatigue?
The solution might be simpler than you think. And all it takes is having the right light bulb.
Turn down the brightness!
That’s right. You might be tempted to brighten the lights to put a little more pep in your step but you may want to rethink it. There is such a thing as “over-illumination”. Just ask anyone who has ever worked in an office.
Despite the functionality that comes with a bright workspace, too much light can cause a wide range of side effects including headaches, migraines, nausea, and fatigue.
So, turn down the lights a bit!
Turn up the brightness!
Mixed signals, we know. But as with most things, there has to be a happy medium between extremes. That leads us to the fatiguing nature of low lighting.
As you may have read, your body produces a compound called “melatonin” to prepare you for sleep. In addition to being signaled by a cooling body temperature, the production of this chemical is also directly connected to how much light is entering your eyes at the time. The darker it is, the closer your body thinks it is to bedtime and, thus, the sleepier you get!
And while you definitely don’t want to go too bright as we’ve pointed out, keeping the lights low might be making you more tired than you should be.
Switch your lighting from direct to indirect
This one might be a little less obvious. There are two types of lighting out there: direct lighting and indirect lighting.
Direct lighting can come in the form of a lot of residential lighting like floodlights and recessed lighting. These types of lights illuminate by shining directly on you.
Indirect lighting, as you may have guessed, brightens up your world by shining away from you. Imagine overhead lights that shine upwards rather than downwards or fixtures that hide the light source completely.
There has been a wealth of research outlining the improved health benefits of indirect lighting over direct. One study, for instance, found that participants felt happier, calmer, and less anxious under indirect light compared to direct light. And when your body isn’t slowed down by anxiety and annoyance you may find that your fatigue just slips away.
What’s more, participants of another study found that they experienced less eye fatigue under indirect light as well. Happy news to anyone staring at a computer screen all day!
Use blue light responsibly
While we admittedly started this whole journey discussing how detrimental blue light can be to your health, it wouldn’t be fair to that most favorite of colors if we didn’t also point out that blue light can, in fact, give you more energy than any other color.
As we mentioned earlier, blue light helps your body to stave off melatonin production, a characteristic that can be particularly beneficial when you’ve reached that midday slump. In fact, one study has shown that blue light can be just as (if not more!) effective at perking you up than a cup of coffee. Fascinating!
Let us know what you think!
How has adopting the techniques outlined above helped you feel less fatigued throughout the day? Do you have any other ways to use smart lighting to put more pep in your step? Let us know in the comment section below and fight fatigue with the Flux Smart product line!