Color Tuning VS. True Circadian Lighting for Improved Health

What if many of the things that ail us could be addressed by something as simple as proper exposure to natural light? Research findings over the past decade have granted new understanding about how our physical health and performance is linked to the sun and our natural sleep/wake cycle.

Almost every facet of human life is dependent on the sun’s energy. However, modern life has broken our relationship with the sun and, in doing so, has disrupted the body’s biological processes — the circadian rhythm. Technology has enabled society to move indoors where we now spend over 90%of our time under artificial light. This has thrown off our circadian rhythm, causing a variety of health issues — from fatigue to psychological stress and poor health.

Improving Health with the Right Lighting

Our biological needs are not being met by standard LED solutions. With a preponderance of blue light, these LED lights are now permeating our public facilities and homes. And while blue light has both good and bad light regions, the spectrum for standard LED lighting has a trough in the good blue region (melanopsin) with peaks in the bad blue. As a result, colors may appear close to daylight but the spectrum is drastically different from what our bodies actually need.

There is a far more effective solution: true circadian lighting can help align our biological needs with our lighting requirements while reducing some of the greatest negative impacts of indoor lighting.

What is Circadian Lighting?

Circadian lighting is intended to act as natural light and effectively regulate circadian rhythm, potentially preventing, managing, and even curing many chronic diseases affecting millions of people. Among its many benefits, circadian lighting may improve sleep quality and overall well-being, as well as increase productivity. Given that artificial light lacks key elements of natural light, it cannot properly interact with circadian biology. Unfortunately not all so called circadian lighting has truly achieved this.

What is Color Tuning?

Some lighting technologies, such as color tuning, have attempted to recreate sunlight by raising and lowering brightness throughout the day. Color-tuning gives users more control over their lighting by enabling them to adjust color hues and intensity to their preference. The three predominant color-tuning techniques include dim-to-warm tuning, white color tuning, and full color tuning.1

The flexibility with color-tuning to choose lighting color, intensity, and warmth allows users to create a certain ambience and environment. It may also offer comfort and other psychological benefits. However, color-tuning fails to communicate with the body on a biological level and, therefore, to regulate the circadian rhythm. In turn, color-tuning cannot offer the biological benefits or improvement in health outcomes true circadian lighting provides.

When it comes to stimulating the circadian rhythm through lighting, cutting edge developments in biological circadian lighting have provided real solutions.

Biological Circadian Lighting

BIOS SkyBlue® circadian lighting technology represents the missing link between artificial and natural light. With no need for color-tuning, it looks and feels like a normal LED light. The SkyBlue Technology infuses blue sky spectrum into LED light to help regulate circadian rhythm, providing the maximum good blue with minimal bad blue for the correct spectrum our bodies need to be at their best.

Color-tuning lacks the specific spectrum necessary to regulate circadian rhythm or communicate with the body on a biological level. BIOS LED lighting solutions communicate directly with circadian biology through the ipRGC — a recently discovered non-visual photoreceptor in the eye. The ipRGC is a non-visual in nature, highly sensitive to the “sky blue” wavelength of the sun’s light, and is responsible for sending signals to the body’s biological clock to regulate circadian rhythm. BIOS lighting taps into this by producing the natural blue sky spectral wavelength that is received by the ipRGC to regulate circadian rhythm. Additionally, the constant adjusting of lights in the color tuning method can feel jarring and be disruptive. BIOS SkyBlue, on the other hand, provides a consistent color temperature with full biological impact – Circadian Lighting without compromise!

The evolution of the technology developed at NASA for use on the International Space Station, BIOS SkyBlue can now bring natural light indoors to both public facilities and private homes. Its spectrally-optimized lighting mimics natural sunlight, helping people synchronize their circadian clocks to get in rhythm with the body’s evolutionary needs to promote better health.

SkyBlue contributes toward meeting the circadian lighting portions of the WELL Building Standard and is being integrated into light fixtures of leading commercial lighting manufacturers. Just look for the “Illuminated by BIOS” icon or ask your specifier for BIOS LED lighting with SkyBlue® Technology.

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