There is growing scientific evidence that environmental factors such as light and sound effect our well-being. While we all know instinctively that sunshine makes us happier and certain noises relax or annoy us, research also suggests that environmental factors can help regulate our body clocks, empower performance and influence mood.
Scientists consider vision to be the most important sense, with some suggesting that 80% of the information we receive comes from our sight. As a result, activities such as working at a desk or in front of a screen for long periods of time, require energy and can result in eye strain and mental fatigue.
Today, we spend around 80 - 90% of our time indoors. As such, the lighting in our home and workplace environments can have a significant biological and emotional impact; it is therefore critical that these environments create the optimal lighting conditions for visual comfort. Over the last 15 years, scientific evidence making the connection between light and human well-being has intensified. One of the most exciting areas of development has concerned the effect of light on our circadian (daily) cycles.
By maintaining our circadian rhythm, or body clock, light helps regulate important processes in our bodies. Studies have shown that the body's hormone levels rise and fall in a daily cyclic pattern, maintained and synchronized by our daily exposure to the light-darkness cycle. Light therefore helps to regulate our biological clock and thus influences many aspects of our well-being.
Several studies have shown, for example, that exposure to higher illuminance levels will result in feelings of increased alertness and better performance and that the right lighting can enhance concentration and mood (e.g. Sleegers 2012, Goven 2011, Barkmann 2010). While a recent report indicated that office workers with enough light nutrition had better sleep and less depression (Figueiro, 2017).