Exciting New Research on Tunable Lighting at Care Center

In April I attended LightFair, an international lighting convention that meets every year.  The newest technology is shown their as well as 4 days of classes.  This past April this was held in San Diego.  I attended numerous classes in the newly created "Healthcare" category.  One that I was especially interested in was conducted by Connie Samla from SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District.  In the class she talked about a project in which the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) was invited to participate.  This project involved a trial installation of a tunable LED lighting system in an ACC Care Center in Sacrament, CA.  The results are very exciting as the staff reported a number of health-related benefits.  These included a reduction in agitated behaviors, psychotropic and sleep medications were reduced for one of the residents, and a decrease in the number of patient falls which may be attributed at least in part to the change in lighting.  It was also reported that other residents were choosing the newly upgraded LED corridor to "hang-out" in.  

As I began Lumen Element my main question was, "what if lighting could make a difference in the lives of those living with Alzheimer's and other neuro-cognitive diseases".  This study and others that are beginning to come out support the idea that yes, lighting can have a positive impact on these individuals and others living in care communities.

To see more on this article:  click here

Circadian Rhythm

Diagram By NoNameGYassineMrabetTalk  ✉   fixed by Addicted04 - Wikipedia

Diagram By NoNameGYassineMrabetTalk fixed by Addicted04 - Wikipedia

Circa-about   dia- day

These are our natural rhythms that repeat in about a 24 hour day.  These are vital for our health and are able to get out of sync – just think of jet lag.  Our circadian rhythm is reset every day – this is called entrainment.  To reset we need bright light in the morning to signal the production of serotonin, and we need dimming light and darkness at night for the production of melatonin.  Both light and darkness are essential for a healthy circadian rhythm.

So many aspect of our lives are regulated by our circadian rhythm, our sleep, mental functioning, emotions, state of mind and many aspects of our immune system and health. 

How can we adjust and improve this essential part of our biology?  Bright light in the morning upon waking, being outside in daylight for at least 20 minutes a day preferably around noon time when the sun is the brightest, exercise, a shift in indoor lighting in the evening to a softer yellower light and avoiding the blue light from electronics for at least 1 hour before bedtime.  Sleeping in total darkness is also important and getting 8 hours of sleep a night, our ancestors before electricity got 10 hours. 

Some current research is suggesting that healthy sleep and a healthy circadian rhythm is an important factor in preventing many of the disease that plague us, heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. 

What If?

Just over a year ago this was the question that was the foundation for what would become Lumen Element.  What if light could enhance the lives of those living with Alzheimer's and dementia diseases?  What if light could give them and their families a little more time together?  What if light could decrease some of what are seen as difficult behaviors associate with those diseases?  What if light is an unmet need for these individuals?

These are also questions I began a presentation at the local Community College with last week.  What I have discovered in the past year is that light does have the ability to impact the lives of those living with Alzheimer's and dementia disease.  The research is being done and the results are amazing.  The right light at the right time of day has a positive impact on sleep, sundowners, agitation, caloric intake and more.  To see some of what I have researched check out the articles on my website:   Lumen Element  , I am adding more as they become available.

Another thing I have found is that light is important for me and for you for our health, productivity, sleep, learning and so much more. As with so many things the answering of one "What if?" leads to many more.

 

Bright Light To Begin The Day

I have been reading several articles about the importance of bright light (especially natural light or light with clear blue tones) in the morning to begin our day and aid in serotonin production.  Serotonin is our feel good hormone that helps us to feel energized.  The importance of this light in the morning is that it can help to reset our internal time clock as well as be a great natural boost of energy.  This morning I was reading a blog that I follow, Alzheimer's Reading Room, the author found that when caring for his mother the day went better with several morning rituals.  One of those being:  "I led her to the kitchen and sat her at the table where she could get some bright light".  Doing this he found her day went better and she seemed more content and happier.   I love it when experience supports science and science supports experience!

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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