Gaining weight? Not feeling well? Call your architect!

No, really. Design matters and lighting is key!

Design with Light Part 1: Circadian Rhythm and Your Health

We average 90% of our time in buildings. Designs that consider your well-being actually contribute to you staying healthy. There are many factors that can affect these feelings and here’s a big one – light.

Light – natural and artificial is a key category of WELL-certified architecture. Why? Good lighting makes us feel good.   Science-based studies show that natural lighting helps children learn better in school and patients recover faster in hospitals.  Workers concentrate better in window-filled offices.  At home, we gravitate to the spaces with good natural lighting.  Dogs know – notice how they always manage to find a sliver of sunlight to lay down in?

What is it about light that has such a basic yet profound effect on our wellbeing? Our natural 24 hour clock, or our circadian rhythm – is one of the most important systems affecting our health and, since we as a species grew legs and walked out of the sea, it has been deeply influenced by the most basic measure of time ever to exist – daylight. As we evolved, our bodies developed a reliance on these cues to tell us when to rest and when to be active.  Studies show links between healthy circadian rhythms and

  1. healthy cardiovascular health
  2. hormonal activity
  3. weight control
  4. improved immune system efficiency
  5. improved mental health
  6. learning
  7. digestion

Conversely, when our circadian rhythm is disrupted, we can experience numerous health issues like:

  1. weight gain
  2. anxiety
  3. insomnia
  4. dementia.

Doctors often look for treatments in the pharmaceutical arena when they might consider prescribing an architect to review the lighting!


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