A space to rest

When it comes to sleep, lighting design plays a crucial role in creating an environment that promotes restful sleep. To enhance sleep quality, lighting designers have to consider several factors.

These include minimizing the use of bright and stimulating light in the evening, utilizing warm and dim light in the bedroom to promote relaxation, and incorporating natural light sources, such as windows or skylights, to maximize exposure to daylight.

The use of lighting control systems that mimic the natural progression of light throughout the day, known as circadian lighting systems, can help regulate sleep-wake cycles more effectively.

Winding Down After a Long Day

Circadian rhythms, the body’s internal clock that regulates sleep-wake cycles, are influenced by light exposure. By understanding and incorporating circadian lighting design principles, at Lightmaster our lighting designers can create environments that align with our natural sleep patterns, ultimately leading to better sleep quality and overall well-being.

The circadian rhythm is primarily influenced by exposure to light and darkness, with natural daylight playing a crucial role in synchronizing our internal body clocks. The increasing use of artificial lighting and electronic devices has disrupted this delicate balance in modern life.

This disruption can not only lead to poor sleep quality but also have profound effects on our overall health and well-being. By considering the body’s natural response to light and incorporating strategies to regulate sleep-wake cycles, these systems can help restore and maintain healthy circadian rhythms, ultimately promoting better sleep and overall human health.

The Impact Of Light and Sleep

Sleep serves as a crucial component of your daily life, accounting for approximately one-third of your time. Acquiring sufficient, high-quality sleep at appropriate hours is as vital to human survival as are food and water.

A lack of sleep compromises the brain’s ability to form and sustain pathways that facilitate learning and the formation of new memories. It also impedes your capacity for concentration and quick responses.

It plays a significant role in various brain functions, particularly in the communication between nerve cells (neurons). Contrary to popular belief, both your brain and body remain highly active during sleep.

Emerging research indicates that one of sleep’s roles is to act as a cleansing mechanism, eliminating toxins that accumulate in the brain while you are awake.

While the necessity for sleep is universal, its biological function is still not fully understood. Sleep has far-reaching impacts on virtually every tissue and system in the human body, ranging from the brain, heart, and lungs to metabolic processes, immune responses, mood regulation, and disease resilience.

Evidence reveals that persistent sleep deprivation, or subpar sleep quality, elevates the likelihood of various health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.

Sleep is a multifaceted and dynamic physiological process, and its impact on human functioning is becoming increasingly understood by the scientific community. This guide outlines how the body’s sleep requirements are regulated and explores the neural activities that transpire during sleep.

Sleep can be categorized into two fundamental types, Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep, which is further subdivided into three distinct stages.

Each stage correlates with unique brain wave patterns and neuronal activities. Throughout a typical night, you oscillate between all stages of non-REM and REM sleep, experiencing progressively lengthier and more profound REM phases as morning approaches.

The Stages of Sleep

• Stage 1 of non-REM sleep serves as the transitional phase from being awake to entering sleep. During this brief span, lasting only a few minutes, you’ll notice a decrease in heartbeat, respiration, and eye movement rates. Concurrently, your muscles begin to relax, punctuated by occasional, minor twitches. The brain waves start to deviate from their active, daytime patterns to slower frequencies.

• Stage 2 non-REM sleep is characterized as a period of lighter sleep that precedes the onset of deeper sleep stages. During this phase, your heart rate and breathing decelerate further, your muscles continue to relax, and your body temperature begins to lower. Eye movements come to a halt. Although brain wave activity generally slows down, it is interspersed with short bursts of electrical activity. A significant portion of your sleep cycles are spent in this stage compared to other sleep stages.

Stage 3 non-REM sleep is the deep sleep stage essential for feeling rejuvenated when you wake up. This stage predominantly occurs during the first half of your sleep cycle. It is marked by the slowest heartbeat and breathing rates you’ll experience while asleep. Muscular relaxation is at its peak, and arousing you from this stage can be challenging. Brain wave frequencies decline even further during this period.

• REM sleep usually commences around 90 minutes after you initially fall asleep. In this stage, your eyes dart rapidly behind your closed eyelids, and brain wave activity begins to resemble that seen during wakefulness. Respiratory rates quicken and become irregular, and both heart rate and blood pressure escalate to levels near those experienced when awake. The majority of dreaming transpires during REM sleep, although it can also occur in non-REM stages. During REM sleep, your limb muscles undergo temporary paralysis, inhibiting you from physically enacting your dreams. As you grow older, the proportion of time spent in REM sleep diminishes.

Both non-REM and REM sleep are likely integral to the process of memory consolidation.

How Your Circadian rhythmn is Impacted By Lighting

Lighting plays a crucial role in our daily lives, influencing our sleep patterns, mood, and overall well-being. While natural daylight is the ideal source of light for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm, artificial lighting has become an integral part of our modern lifestyles.

Artificial light has a significant impact on our sleep patterns, primarily due to its effect on melatonin production and the disruption of our circadian rhythm. Different types of artificial light emit varying wavelengths, which can either promote or hinder quality sleep.

Circadian lighting design has emerged as a powerful tool in improving sleep quality by mimicking natural daylight and regulating the body’s internal sleep clock. This innovative approach recognizes the crucial role of light in our sleep patterns and leverages its effects to enhance our overall well-being.

Technical Insights

Bedroom and Bathroom Considerations
  • TASK : Lighting for reading
  • ACCENT : Positioning of furniture including artwork, dressing tables, wardrobes mirrors
  • EFFECT : Colour temperature, beam shape and intensity
  • GENERAL : For cleaning
  • CONTROL : Switch, dim, scene setting, e.g. bathroom night light
Positioning and Quantity of Light Fittings

For the Bedroom:

Lower levels of light are required in this space; do you have a central pendant? This can make a good decorative feature but often the ceilings are low, so you have limited choice. Wash the walls with light to make the space brighter, as it’s reflected light you see.

This also depend on the room colours used and how much light they absorb. Using a 6 watt fitting every 1250mm is a guide, but if you have traditional bedside lights, these can light a good proportion of the room depending on lamp brightness and shade used.

Separate reading lights can also be used to find your way to the bathroom. The more detail of room layouts the better, what bed size? How high is the bed and headboard? What height are the bedside tables?

Bedroom Lighting Quantities
  • TASK:  2 Reading lights
  • ACCENT: Picture lighting
  • EFFECT: 1 Low level lighting
  • GENERAL: 1 Feature pendant or 2 either side of the bed, or 4 downlights
Bathroom Lighting Quantities
  • TASK – Mirror light
  • ACCENT – Architectural detail
  • EFFECT – Low level PIR or niche lights
  • GENERAL Downlights over bath, loo and basin

Our Ethos

Light is Life

Experience a better quality of life whether at work, rest or play.

Lightmaster Direct