Sleep Light Technology
The development of the light bulb has had an enormous impact on mankind, extending available working hours to create a more productive and faster growing modern society. This progress has allowed us to labor throughout the night, work underground and even explore space. However, there are still problems that need to be resolved even with modern day lighting solutions.
Our friends at Pegasus Lighting pointed out that Light pollution, also known as luminous pollution, is a problem that we encounter daily. Pegasus has stated that there are many different types of light pollution, including sky glow, glare, light trespass, and clutter. Light pollution is known to interfere with a person’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm. Pegasus continues on by stating that, “Interference with the circadian rhythm can hinder things such as the production of melatonin.”
At Lighting Science, we search for solutions to such problems. Prolonged exposure to light affecting our circadian rhythms is not a new idea in the scientific community but attempting to build a light using monochromatic and polychromatic methods have met little success.
With sleep light technology, jet lag can be addressed on planes and in hotels, resetting an internal clock. Night shift workers can resume a routine that is fit for their lifestyle. Hospitals and nursing homes can gently establish a sleep pattern for patients’ healing and overall well-being.
Situations such as, space exploration, night shift workers, and health care, among others could all benefit from lighting that works with our natural sleep cycle, instead of against it.
When 33 Chilean miners were trapped underground, one of many concerns was that they would be unable to establish a common sleep cycle due to a lack of natural light. Their peak awareness times would vary, impeding cooperative efforts. Space exploration faces a similar concern. Astronauts are subject to multiple sunrises and sunsets a day. Without a common schedule and strict diurnal cycle in both situations, cooperative efforts, well-being and the success of the mission, would be jeopardized.
Night shift workers struggle with the reversal of their biological clocks and often times have trouble sleeping after their shift. This fatigue reduces their performance level and awareness when they are on the job. A disruption of circadian rhythms has also been linked to illnesses and diseases, such as cancer and depression.
With the sleep light research we are conducting, great unknowns can safely be explored, and we may find a non-intrusive aid for ailments associated with a variety of illnesses. The uses of sleep light technology are vast; just as we have yet to find all impacts of the modern day light bulb, we will continue to explore how light can quietly improve our current lifestyle, without sacrificing convenience, productivity, and advancement.