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How Lighting Can Affect Your Mood & Well-being

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Let there be light

Every second of every day, we are exposed to some type of light. Irrespective of your location, the balance of artificial and natural light leaves a profound mark on our body and psyche. This impact remains unfluctuating, not only during your waking hours but also when we sleep. A quintessential need, light is something we cannot do without. 

Yes, light is essential, but how it affects your health can be good or bad depending on how you use it.

The role of light reaches far beyond its standard, utilitarian function. If you look a bit into neuroscience research, you'll discover how expanded the understanding of light's influence on our lives truly is.

Understanding the Neuroscience of Light and Mood

More than being just instrumental for visibility, indoor lighting stands as a  tool that has the power to sculpt the quality of existence we pursue. Some studies suggest the theory that our choice of lighting—ranging from the hues to the intensities—can lead to significant variations in our mood and emotional responses within our indoor environments.

There's a unique correlation between lighting choices and the atmospheres they inspire. Some lighting selections are conducive to crafting conducive environments for specific scenarios, conversely, alternate selections better complement spaces necessitating a different type of thought or behavioral pattern.

Understanding the neuroscience of light ushers us into a realm where we can use light not only to illuminate our physical surroundings but also to illuminate our internal states, guiding our moods and reactions in a way that best suits our well-being.

The Magic of Natural Light

Let’s start with natural light because unlike any other light, natural light is like a magic elixir for our minds. It has the potential to enhance not only our mood, but also our creativity and cognitive performance. The absence of glare in natural light makes it even more beneficial. When we are in a better mood, our problem-solving abilities improve, and we get along better with others. This ripple effect is not just good for us but also beneficial for the world we live in.

The Art of Balance: Managing Glare

While natural light is wonderful, it often comes with an unwelcome companion—glare. The good news is that glare can be managed effectively. Window coverings like sheer curtains can let in natural light while cutting out glare. Similarly, choosing matte over glossy floor tiles can help minimize glare, making your space more comfortable and visually pleasing.

The Gap Filler: Artificial Light

When natural light is insufficient, artificial light steps in to fill the gap. The natural cycle of the sun affects our internal clock, otherwise known as the  circadian rhythm, it also has an effect on sleep, and alertness. It’s actually quite simple, your body's internal clock is attuned to the presence of light as a cue for wakefulness and darkness as an invitation for restful sleep. 

Lighting systems which follow our circadian rhythm are particularly effective since they mimic the natural changes in light throughout the day. This helps maintain our internal clocks, keeps stress levels in check, and optimizes our overall well-being. That’s why experts recommend increasing the amount of light during the day to be more alert. [1]

The Temperature Spectrum: Warm vs. Cool Lighting

Artificial light comes in various "temperatures," usually indicated on the packaging. Warm lighting creates a cozy, social atmosphere, making it ideal for relaxation and creative thinking. On the other hand, cool lighting is excellent for focus and concentration, making it the go-to choice for tasks that require alertness.

This is why it is recommended that if you’re looking to relax and unwind before bed, choosing a warm temperature light is more beneficial and helps prepare our body for sleep. 

Strategic Placement: Mimicking Nature

Another effective strategy is to place warmer lighting in tabletop and floor lamps and cooler light overhead. This arrangement mimics how light appears in nature, with warmer tones at the horizon during sunrise and sunset, and cooler light overhead at noon. This naturalistic approach can enhance the benefits of both warm and cool lighting.

The Dimmer Switch: Versatility at Your Fingertips

Having the option to dim your lights adds another layer of versatility to your lighting choices. Dimmer lighting is more relaxing and better suited for casual hangouts, while brighter lights can be used for tasks that require more focus and attention.

The Influence of Light on Well-being

Lighting, both natural and artificial, plays a crucial role in how we think and feel in the various spaces we occupy throughout the day. At Mudita, we are keen on exploring a variety of different lighting options which can boost our well-being. 

Did you know that our mindful alarm clock, Mudita Bell and Mudita Harmony have a custom-designed front light which emits a soft and gentle glow that won't disrupt your circadian rhythm or disturb your sleep. With a warm color temperature of 2700 K, our front light creates a peaceful and calming atmosphere that's perfect for winding down. Unlike most smartphones, which emit harsh blue light that can interfere with your slumber, the light in our alarm clocks is carefully crafted to minimize blue light and promote restful, restorative sleep.

The right lighting can transform a space, not just aesthetically but also emotionally, making it a vital component of a mindful lifestyle.

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