A relaxing evening in front of the TV calls for very different living room lighting to that required for concentrated work. Similarly, the light needed to prepare a meal properly in the kitchen will very definitely not work for the intimate dinner that follows. And in the bathroom, too, there are many different lighting needs at different times of the day. New technologies and the products developed with them can imitate the circadian rhythm of daylight and support people in their home lives – this is a growth market.
Growing numbers of people are thinking about their internal clocks, and not just because of the debate about the clocks going forward in Europe for the summer. The term “circadian” comes from Latin and means “roughly” (circa) and “day” (dies). The circadian rhythm in human beings, the body’s internal clock, controls the hormonal balance. The right light gets us going in the morning and triggers the release of melatonin in the evening to wind down the body and mind. Light has a stimulating effect via the centres in our brain activated by the retina and drives our internal clock. This biological rhythm emerged over the course of evolution as an adaptation to regular environmental changes, and it has been demonstrated right down to the cellular level.
So you can say that the circadian rhythm is in our DNA. It regulates our sleep-wake rhythm and is crucial for our sense of well-being. Circadian lighting mimics the natural changes in light. It aims to recreate the interaction between natural light and its biological effects in interior spaces.
Philips Lighting has been researching light for many years and studying the effect of light on people. Philips Hue, available on the market for more than five years, is a system that enables private households to easily select different lighting scenarios and control them automatically. The cutting-edge LED lamps in the Philips SceneSwitch series are a very simple way for users to choose a lighting mood to suit the particular occasion – without dimmers, accessories or any installation work.
The RL40 Room Light from burgbad is the first mirror cabinet on the market that combines the biological effect of light with ergonomic controls in a single product. Photo: burgbad
Especially the bathroom is used for very different purposes during the course of a day. Users’ needs range from functional light in the morning for shaving and putting on make-up to a soothing ambiance for evening pampering. This is why using circadian lighting in the bathroom promises especially large dividends. The specialist in bathroom furniture and furnishing concepts Burgbad has developed an innovative lighting concept called RL40 Room Light. It combines the biological effect of light with ergonomic controls in a single product, and is designed to cover all lighting needs in the bathroom.
But circadian lighting also promises benefits beyond the private spheres. The first installations of this technology in hospitals or care homes for the elderly provide light stimulation in the morning, thereby enhancing the well-being of patients or residents, who are unable to venture outside for long periods. Some initial successes have already been achieved in the care of dementia patients in hospitals and senior care homes.