Feel the Light

Lighting And Human Health

Published: December 2015

By Craig DiLouie

Light doesn’t only serve as the basis of vision. It can influence behavior and how people feel. Further, light plays an important role in human health. As researchers gain insight into the relationship between light and health, the lighting industry is beginning to consider health effects in product and lighting design best practices.

Heart of the issue


At the core of one of light’s biggest effects on human health is its nonvisual effect on the body’s circadian system. The circadian system produces and regulates bodily functions based on 24-hour cycles, called circadian rhythms. Examples of circadian rhythms include sleep-wake cycles, core body temperature changes, and the release timing of hormones, such as melatonin. Disruption to circadian rhythms can lead to poor nighttime sleep and increased daytime napping as well as a greater risk of depression, obesity, diabetes and seasonal affective disorder.
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