Smart lighting like the Philips Hue smart bulb is able to make our lives more convenient, no doubt. Being able to tap one button on a smartphone to activate a group of lights as you enter your house is quicker and easier than strolling through the house to tap multiple individual wall switches. It’s also a lot safer. How many times have you tripped over toy in your footpath during your voyage down a dark hallway? Or worse yet, have you ever stumbled down a dark stairway?
Smart Lighting Reduces Accidents
Smart lighting systems can reduce the risk of the serious injuries that when you try to navigate your way through a dark house. There are many other health benefits, too. Daylight Savings time, for example, can really mess with our body’s internal clock—our circadian rhythm that essentially tell us when to go to sleep, when to get up, when to eat/digest, and so on. Light is both our friend and enemy here, since our body syncs up to the sun’s rays for our 24-hour cycle and circadian rhythm balance.
When the sun rises and sets later in the day, our circadian rhythm gets out of whack. The result: You feel sluggish, moody, and tired. The shift in day and night might also impacts your overall health. According to Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D,:
“The vast majority of your hormones, including melatonin and cortisol, cycle during the day. This impacts every system in your body, from your immune system, to how well you digest your food, to how much insulin is released in response to sugar intake–all change based on the time of day. This is why prioritizing circadian rhythms is so important: it regulates the natural ups and downs that your hormones go through throughout the day and night. When your circadian rhythms are properly regulated, you sleep well, you have energy in the mornings, your energy is constant throughout the day until it starts to gradually diminish in the evening… and it reduces your risk of chronic disease.”
Smart Light Switches
So how can you put your circadian rhythm back on track? The same smart light switches that respond to a command initiated from a smartphone can be programmed to follow an on/off scheduled that you create. Instead of letting the sun tell you when to sleep and when to wake, the scheduled light switches can dim at the same time each night to signal your body that it’s time to go to bed. In the morning, they can do the opposite, turning on at a bright level as a cue to get of bed. Check out Lutron, Leviton, Insteon, and Legrand for affordable, easy to install smart dimmer switches. These are widely available at home improvement stores like Home Depot and online at amazon.com
Studies show that it’s not just the intensity of a home’s artificial lighting that can help maintain a healthy circadian rhythm, but also the color of the light. The objective is to create a bright blue light during the day and dim red light in the evening. Smart, color-changing light bulbs screw into sockets just like regular light bulbs. They can emit a rainbow of different colors, controllable through a smartphone app. You can find them from various manufacturers, Philips, Stack, LIFX, and Sengled at home improvement stores at online.
In addition to helping you get your rhythm back on track, colored lighting is a verified mood booster. Dim, soft, pale-colored lights can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, while crisp, bright, vibrant colored lighting can improve productivity.
Finally, automated shading, particularly blackout shading, can be one of the greatest biohacks for getting a good night sleep and maintaining you circadian rhythm. Automated shading put on a schedule to lift and lower at the same time every day. It can help block out the sun so that you go to bed when you should, for example. They can work in concert with your smart lighting to create an environment that is good for your health. Battery-powered shading can be installed by a do-it-yourselfer, and is available at home improvement stores and online.