Design With Circadian Rhythm in Mind

Raquel Says...

The goal of a designer is to create a space for clients that is not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but also functional and meets everyone's needs. We are responsible for creating a healthy atmosphere for our clients with our utilization of paint, fabric, space planning, and lighting.

One way to improve our health is by understanding our bodies' natural circadian rhythm and sleep cycles and incorporating it in our interiors. Circadian rhythms are changes in the body that follow the rising and setting of the sun. Sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, eating habits, digestion, and body temperature are all controlled, in part, by circadian rhythms. Understanding how biological clocks function can help treat sleep disorders and other health problems, thus, creating a healthy atmosphere for you and your family.

Find the right balance of light exposure

Exposure to bright white light (has a high level of blue light) stimulates your body to wake up and start the day. Therefore, at night you want to limit your exposure to cool light temperature to more warm colors. There are methods that we can use in our interiors to help your body synchronize to a natural 24-hour cycle.

Avoid putting televisions in bedrooms, or use a hide-a-way media center. The blue light (cool temperature) that emits from the screen stimulates your body to stay awake at night.

Also, it is important to use the correct balance between task lighting and mood lighting in your interior. This is very simple to achieve, so don't worry. For example, in your kitchen you can utilize both of those techniques because the space can be used for tasks and mood. Put pendants over an island and LED strip tape under cabinets for additional lighting. This helps illuminate your tasks areas so you can see your food on your plate and where your knife lands when your cutting that delicious meal for your family.

In addition, add recessed lighting on the ceiling with a dimming component to control the amount of light output in your kitchen.

Lighting in an office and dining area

Avoid external light pollution

The use of automatic blackout blinds and curtains allows you to be in control of light entering the space. Avoiding external light pollution like light fixtures around the exterior of the house, street lights, and car headlights. In the morning, your curtains can automatically let bright light into your space allowing your body to wake up, especially if your windows are placed on the east wall. This is one of the best ways for your body to naturally wake up and the feeling of serenity will carry out throughout your day.

Utilize color temperature control

Another method is the use of light fixtures with intensity and color temperature control. These light bulbs adjust color temperature and perceived intensity to simulate a normal light cycle. These lights generally have three different modes: a daytime mode, an in-between mode, and a nighttime mode. Products like this are great at regulating your body's circadian rhythms.

Final thoughts

Using these methods of space planning and lighting design for both natural and artificial light through your household can improve your overall health. Everyone's individual space is unique because people have different priorities and tasks they want to accomplish. Usually, health and interior design does not come to mind, but this idea can change the way you plan out your space, not only taking into account your style preferences, but your health too.