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Circadian Lighting in Schools

Light impacts on human beings in a variety of ways, so it also influences our behaviour. It promotes a sense of wellbeing and strengthens powers of concentration and motivation. Light also has a positive influence on learning. Daylight and tailored lighting moods can help students learn efficiently.

Many children at school are still sleepy and unfocused during the first lesson of the morning. In most cases, the early start conflicts with the children's biological needs. Energising daylightwhite light with high blue content can help improve students' memory skills, concentration and general sense of wellbeing. It has long been known that our sense of wellbeing is fundamentally influenced by light. We find natural daylight agreeable and it makes us feel good. So does sufficiently bright indoor lighting. But recent studies show that light has an even greater impact on human life than that. Light can support our circadian rhythm (day/night rhythm) and control biological processes in our body. Human biological rhythm is controlled by a "body clock", on which light has a crucial influence. Light supports the sleep-wake cycle by telling our body when day turns into night.

Without sufficient light, our internal clock may be disrupted and sleep-waking phases may become less pronounced as a result. If our chronobiological rhythm is disturbed in this way, our sense of wellbeing and possibly even our health are significantly affected. Taking a leaf from nature Nature offers ideal conditions for keeping our body clock right. But a similar effect can be achieved by artificial lighting adjusted to recreate the natural rhythm of daylight. The intensity, colour temperature and direction of daylight change constantly during the course of the day. Artificial lighting that imitates those changes makes us feel better and more motivated in much the same way as natural daylight. There are also energetic advantages to dynamic adaptation. Targeted lighting control can help improve memory skills and concentration, general wellbeing and communication.

Cool cold-white light with high levels of 460nm blue, similar to daylight, makes us alert and active. Warm-white light, with less 460nm blue, has a relaxing, soothing effect. To achieve biological performance-boosting impacts in schools, a dynamic solution offering both high and low blue content should be installed.

For biologically effective light:

Colour temperature/ spectral density and luminance should change dynamically in line with the natural progression of daylight.

Emotional impact of light

For an effective learning environment,surroundings need to be found agreeable,allowing students to identify with their school. Colours, materials and finely tuned lighting/interior design help promote a sense of wellbeing. This calls for not only a stimulating atmosphere but also room for privacy, where students can rest and relax. Warm colour temperatures and accents help meet this requirement.

Human performance

     Human performance throughout the day shown in a simple graph

(Above) Human performance varies, depending on the time of day or night. Our body and mind work most effectively in the morning and late afternoon; performance reaches a low during the deep sleep phase around 3 a.m.

Activity and relaxation

      Humans activity and relaxation graph, what are bodies are telling us to do and when?

Biologically speaking, warm white light has a relaxing effect on the human organism, whereas daylight white boosts activity.

To view PhotonStar's answer to circadian lighting visit the ChromaWhite™ page.

Or learn more about the benefits of circadian lighting visit the Circadian Lighting learn page.