Shedding Light on Home Lighting and Health

The lights in your home can have a huge impact on your health!

Corey Hart was on to something with his 1983 hit “Sunglasses at night”! Little did he know biohackers (people who study biology hacks for longevity and optimal health) across the globe would be wearing orange colored glasses at night. These glasses are designed to block harmful blue light that disrupts circadian rhythm and promotes ill-health when exposure is artificial and mistimed.

Before 1879, when Thomas Edison patented the electric lightbulb, people relied on candles, lanterns and fires for sources of light after the sunset. Just 3 decades ago, researchers at Harvard discovered that light in fact governs our interval clock, known as circadian rhythm. Research on light, particularly blue light has been on the rise, especially since the introduction of computers and personal electronic devices. So much so that the 2017 Nobel Prize in “Physiology or Medicine” was awarded for such research.

Here’s what we know:

  • Exposure to blue light before bedtime is linked to a 99% of melatonin suppression and up to 90 minutes of decreased duration of melatonin.
  • Melatonin is essential for restful sleep, brain health, gut health, and fertility. it is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
  • Melatonin production is suppressed when cortisol levels are high, particularly due to artificial lighting, stress, and late night meals or snacking, particularly high carbohydrate or sugary snacks.
  • Heart attack, asthma, arthritis, depression, diabetes & obesity instances are higher in those sleeping less than 7 hours per night.

Here’s what you can do about it:

  • Swap out LEDs for incandescent or low-voltage incandescent halogen lights or Consider a Smart Home system such as Nest or Alexa to program lighting shifts from day to night.
  • Get exposure to direct sunlight early in the morning, at times when natural sun is not available consider an indoor wide spectrum white light lamp to simulate sunlight in the morning.
  • Limit exposure to blue light after sunset, adjust computer, phone and other personal electronics to limit blue light or install apps or software such as f.lux or use apple’s “Night Shift” settings.
  • Use candle light or orange tinted lights at night, especially in bedrooms.
  • Use orange tinted, blue light blocking glasses in the evenings where blue light exists (computer/phone use).

Article created by Chelsea Kmiec, Chief Wellness Officer at Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates/Christie’s International Real Estate. Kmiec develops and implements health and wellness services exclusively for our team and clients. As clients seek the Jackson Hole lifestyle, many are also seeking to change the way they are living, and we are able to assist in achieving lifestyle and health goals.