Can choosing the right lighting improve well-being?

The impact of lighting on well-being and productivity has been amply demonstrated. Innovations in this industry are emerging rapidly, promising new services and benefits to users, including Internet connection through Li-Fi (Light Fidelity), the ability to treat illnesses with luminotherapy, and improvements in learning capacity with Human-Centric Lighting. Occupational well-being has become a central concern for 92% of directors[1] over the last few years. Choosing the right lighting is essential for minimizing risks, boosting productivity, and fostering users’ well-being.

The impact of lighting on health

Lighting is a complex equation with numerous variables (intensity, color, usability, positioning, etc.), and sometimes there is a fine line between positive and negative effects. In the workplace, for example, there are numerous standards, regulations, and recommendations for minimizing “visual fatigue and any visual conditions that may result.”[2] Given that we spend a substantial portion of our lives at work—where we’re often exposed to artificial lighting—it is essential that we give this issue careful consideration.

Indeed, the lack of exposure to natural lighting may impact our health and affect our mood and internal clocks. Certain types of photoreceptors in the human eye communicate directly with our biological clocks, which regulate numerous physiological activities (body temperature, blood pressure, hormone production) according to our body’s “circadian rhythms”.[3] It is therefore essential to have the right lighting where we spend the majority of our time. To this end, a plethora of technological innovations have been developed in order to provide solutions that are beneficial to user health, while also supplying useful services.

Luminotherapy, Li-Fi, Human-Centric Lighting: new innovations in the lighting industry

Manufacturers are currently developing a new wave of lighting innovations geared toward user well-being. “Human-Centric Lighting” (HCL) is a new type of lighting designed to stick as closely as possible to the circadian rhythms of the people exposed to it. Throughout the day, the lighting will vary in intensity and color, mimicking natural lighting, similarly to luminotherapy, which is used to treat numerous illnesses. Companies may be able to use this type of solution to protect the health of their employees and boost their productivity. Some aircraft have even incorporated HCL to minimize jet lag for their passengers. Luminotherapy and dawn simulators are increasingly used in the home in order to compensate for the lack of natural lighting and mitigate its negative effects. Particularly in the winter, exposure to these types of lamps can limit the effects of seasonal depression, reducing stress, irritability, and sleep disorders.

Lighting technology is also going online, with a new “Li-Fi” solution that provides a high-speed internet connection. Li-Fi has several advantages over Wi-Fi, being faster, cheaper, and more secure. A wireless technology, Li-Fi connects users to the internet without using radio frequencies and may be used in locations that are sensitive to interference, such as hospitals and aircraft. Perpignan Hospital, for example, will soon become the first hospital to incorporate this type of lighting.[4]

Like many other industries, the lighting market has been trending toward “user-centric” designs. An array of innovative solutions is emerging, providing users with new services and benefits that have a positive impact on their comfort and health—in addition to providing a good source of lighting. Businesses and public facilities, which are showing ever-greater concern for the well-being of their occupants, are increasingly turning toward these innovations and thus derive added value from their lighting solutions.