Physiological Effects of Lighting

Create a nurturing environment with the strategic placement of lamps around your house.

| February 2018

  • Blue light suppresses melatonin to a greater extent than longer wavelengths (redder colors).
    Photo by Pixabay/stevepb
  • Visible light consists of a thin band of wavelengths between 400 and 780 nm, situated between infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum.
    Illustration courtesy Healthy Berry LLC
  • “Toxic Home/Conscious Home” by Rob Brown offers key insights on how to create a conscious home by making educated choices that will preserve and increase the well-being of your home’s occupants.
    Cover courtesy Healthy Berry LLC

Dr Rob Brown is unveiling obvious and hidden sources of toxicity within the home in Toxic Home/Conscious Home: A Mindful Approach to Wellness at Home(Healthy Berry LLC, 2018). Despite our best efforts to be healthy, Brown explains how and why our homes are silently making many of us sick while stressing the importance of proper energy flow with in the home. Safer alternatives are suggested to help the reader create a truly safe and healthy refuge. The thought of detoxing the home can be overwhelming, by taking it day by day and making one or two changes at a time will make all the difference. The following excerpt is from Chapter 5, “Food Preparation and Packaging.

Imagine living in a world without artificial sources of light. As the sun rises, you become filled with energy. You spend the day aware and alert. As the sun begins to set, you settle down to end the day, perhaps becoming contemplative. As the skies darken, you prepare for slumber. As darkness covers the sky, the body is ready to sleep and your mind shifts into a sleep mode. The body repairs itself while the mind reorganizes and attempts to solve problems encountered during the day through dreams.

To get a sense of life without artificial light, go camping. Sleep in a tent for a few nights, away from all sources of artificial light, except for maybe a flashlight. People who camp and rise with the sun often go to sleep not long after the sun sets. People with sleep disturbances will commonly have their sleep patterns stabilize if taken on camping trips.

Even though we live in a world filled with artificial light, hormonal effects, mood effects, and sleep disturbances seem to be associated with the phases of the moon. I have spoken with several physicians and nurses who acknowledge that their emergency rooms are busier and people more agitated, nervous, and sicker during full moons. Teachers and educators have commented to me that their students are more out of control during the full moon. Throughout my years of work, I have noticed that diseases such as congestive failure seem to be exacerbated during full moons. This observation was first described by Hippocrates, and continues to be an unexplained curiosity even today. However, many research studies have not been able to confirm this phenomenon. If these effects are related to the moon’s phases and luminosity, could it be that the effects are obscured in cities and larger towns with increased light pollution?

Visible light consists of a thin band of wavelengths between 400 and 780 nm, situated between infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum (see above). IR wavelengths are between 780 nm and 1 mm and are further sub-classified into IRA, IRB, and IRC. IRA is the frequency nearest to visible light. UV wavelengths are shorter, between 100 and 400 nm. UV radiation is sub-classified into UVA, UVB, and UVC wavelengths, with UVA being closest to visible light.

Why is this relevant? It is important to understand that when we are placed into light, we are exposed to a broader range of wavelengths than what we can see with our eyes. Light sources produce bands of wavelength that far exceed the visible light spectrum. Humans can detect IR wavelengths by feeling the heat they generate. UV wavelengths do not produce heat and cannot be “sensed” by the body, but they can damage skin.

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