Using Light to Help Our Service Members in Afghanistan Rest Easier
This Memorial Day, Lighting Science would like everyone to remember the one percent of Americans who serve—so that the rest of us can live free. In recognition of their many sacrifices, Lighting Science is showing our gratitude to a special Army unit in Afghanistan by helping them get a better night’s sleep.
For every GOOD NIGHT® biologically correct LED bulb we sell from now until the end of the month, we will donate one to a service member in need.
We were inspired to donate Good Night® bulbs to service members after recently receiving an email from a soldier serving outside of Kabul who said that using Good Night® for an hour before he went to sleep “…instead of my fully bright, overhead fluorescent lights made a world of difference in my ability to fall asleep and overall sleep quality. It was the first time in a long time I woke up the next morning feeling refreshed. I can’t thank you and Lighting Science enough.”
The Stress of Being Away
If you’re one of the 99 percent who don’t serve, it’s easy to take for granted the little things that allow us to rest well, like peace and quiet, personal space, comfortable beds and our choice of lighting fixtures.
Our service members, in contrast, have to deal with the stress of being away from their loved ones for long periods of time. Their living conditions can be challenging, often consisting of temporary shared living space, army cots and the harsh, linear fluorescent bulbs we typically see in most offices.
Fluorescent vs. HeathE Lights: A Difference In Spectrum
Fluorescent lights, in particular, are known to have poor light distribution and uniformity. This forces a person’s eyes to work overtime, causing eye fatigue and confusion, which makes us feel lousy and generally not relaxed. These lights are typically also very bright and emit blue light waves that can inhibit sleep by disrupting the body’s internal clock.
You see, when we wake up in the morning and sunlight shines down on us, blue “daytime” spectrums are picked up by photoreceptors in our eyes, which in turn releases hormones throughout our body. These receptors tell the brain to stop secreting melatonin (a naturally occurring hormone that promotes sleep) and force it to release serotonin (a hormone that gets our bodies up and running). The fluorescent lights used in barracks are essentially tricking the brains of our service members into suppressing the melatonin they need to unwind and fall asleep at night.
The Good Night® LED Light bulbs we are donating are extremely high quality and reduce the stress on our eyes. They also emit a warm glow that is calming like a sunset and, although it is completely unnoticeable to the naked eye, they emit very small amounts of blue light waves, so our bodies can still naturally produce melatonin and our ability to sleep is uninhibited.
These service members already need to be alert around the clock, they certainly don’t need the added stress of bad lighting, right?
The Physical Toll of Jet Lag
Many of our service members also don’t enjoy the luxury of staying in one place for an extended period. It’s not uncommon for them to be sent across time zones to different areas of the world. Most of us are familiar with how difficult it is physically adjusting to different time zones, but most of us don’t know jet lag is actually a sleeping disorder that can have a major, negative impact on a service member’s alertness and vigilance.
In fact, service members don’t even have to be road warriors in order to have their biological clocks turned upside-down. Our circadian rhythms can easily be thrown out of sync by shifting work or social schedules. Fortunately, research suggests that properly timed biological light exposure, such as that provided by our biologically correct LED lighting, can help our service members gradually shift to new schedules as needed in order to avoid conflict within the body.
This Memorial Day, let’s commit to making life easier for ourselves—and for those men and women fighting for us overseas. By helping yourself stay healthy and rested, you can help a service member be healthier and rested too!