With many of us spending more time at home lately – in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic and an increase in remote working – creating a healthy home environment has never been so important.
Interior design plays an important role in managing moods and creating relaxing, cosy or productive environments where we need them. Indoor lighting is also key to happy, healthy living, and when done correctly, it can boost both your physical and mental wellbeing.
Here, Michael Meiser, President of LED lighting specialists Lumilum gives simple home lighting tips for ultimate wellness.
Easy on the eyes
Over a third of us have some sort of vision impairment, with many going unrecognised. This often means we don’t take the right steps to care for our eyes.
Eyes are affected by different lighting. Fluorescent lighting has been linked to eye strain, blurred vision and causing sore, watery or dry eyes. Sitting under intense, bright light or being exposed to the stroboscopic/flicker effect can also cause headaches, fatigue and migraines.
The artificial UV light given off by fluorescent lights can increase the likelihood of developing eye diseases, like age-related macular degeneration. Replacing bright ambient fluorescent lights with warmer LED strip lighting reduces the strain on your eyes and your chances of developing painful eye injuries.
Dim lighting can also be tough on eyes, as it makes you squint when reading or working, leading to eye strain and tiredness. Task lighting can help here. For example, using lamps or spotlights in reading areas or home working set-ups makes it more comfortable to concentrate on books or screens.
Get your house in order
When it comes to wellness, organisation is key. It helps reduce stress by decreasing cortisol levels which can rise when we feel cluttered or bogged down. To benefit from this, you need to get your house in order – literally.
Organise your home into focused spaces with the right atmosphere in each room. So, productive working environments look different from relaxing spaces like the living room and bedroom.
The right lighting can create the perfect space. Home lighting comes in a range of colour-correlated ‘temperatures’ – usually ranging from around 2,200K to 6,000K – which refers to the shade of light they give off.
Lighting with a higher temperature – around 3,000-4,500K – produces a brighter, blue glow ideal for kitchens and bathrooms and your remote working setup, keeping you alert and energised.
Lower ‘temperatures’ – around 2,000-3,000K – give off a warm, yellowish light which is easy on the eyes, gives off an inviting glow for relaxing evenings. Perfect for bedrooms and living rooms, warm lighting can help the body to relax before bed by mimicking the hues of a sunset and boosting levels of melatonin, the chemical your body produces when it’s time to sleep.
Always avoid bright blue lights in the bedroom. These disrupt your circadian rhythm, as they give off a similar brightness to daylight, making you feel awake and alert.
For many of us, our sense of wellbeing comes from living sustainably – doing our bit for the planet and making green choices.
When it comes to sustainable home lighting, avoid traditional incandescent lights. Switching to LED strips or fluorescent lightbulbs uses significantly less energy to keep your home lit.
Plus, in addition to playing your part in protecting the planet, you could save almost £250 a year by switching from halogen bulbs to LED lights.
Illuminate the darkness
For some of us, the changing seasons can harm our emotional wellbeing. This is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and is most common during the autumn and winter months.
Light therapy can help people cope with SAD. Sitting by a ‘lightbox’ – a specialised lamp with a high lux count – for around 30 minutes a day replicates the sunlight we can miss during the winter months.
If you struggle to wake up in the morning, particularly in the winter, consider buying a light-up alarm clock, which gradually lights up the room, replicating natural daylight. This can kick-start cortisol production (the wake-up hormone) and allow you to start the day feeling energised and refreshed.
By Michael Meiser, President, Lumilum