What can I do as an employee?
Managing your light intake is critical to your health:
- Increased sensitivity of a person’s body clock to light is associated with delayed sleep-wake behaviour, leading to chronic sleep restriction and daytime dysfunction1. It is also related to Bipolar disorder2.
- Decreased sensitivity of a person’s body circadian system to light is associated with seasonal affective disorder3.
- Long-term exposure to sleep deprivation and circadian disruption, such as shift work, can increase risk of cancer4, cardiovascular disease5, and metabolic conditions like diabetes6.
There are several ways by which you can achieve the right light for improved health and safety.
When the “Standard” 4000K lighting currently used in most industry segments is applied to a pre-sleep environment, it will reduce the signal for sleep and/or reduce the quality of that sleep.
For shift workers who need to sleep during the day, there is an increased risk of circadian misalignment, causing fatigue due to these abnormal sleep and light exposure patterns. If you are someone who needs to sleep at irregular hours, or even if you want to increase your chances of achieving good sleep at night, it is recommended that you investigate your current home lighting set-up and available options.
Imitate a natural light-dark cycle
Imitating the natural light-dark cycle with dynamic lighting is likely to have a positive effect on performance, and a number of health outcomes.
For example, light exposure patterns can be altered to achieve changes in sleep and wake times in those with sleep disorders7, and this may be associated with an increase in sleep quality8.
It is recommended that internal lighting during the day have a higher blue content, similar to daylight. And, at night, lower light levels with as much blue removed from the light as possible.
Avoid using devices at least 1-2 hours before sleep...
Be device-free at bedtime
Evening blue enriched light, such as that from your mobile phone or laptop, can delay the onset of sleep. It can also reduce or delay the onset of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – the deepest sleep – and can suppress slow wave sleep9.
It is advised that you do not use such devices at least 1-2 hours before sleep.
1 Watson et al., 2018
2 Bullock, McGlashan, Burns, Lu, & Cain, 2019
3 McGlashan EM, Coleman MY, Vidafar P, Phillips AJK, Cain SW. J Affect Disord. 2019 Sep 1;256:386-392. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2019.05.076. Epub 2019 May 31.
4 (Papantoniou et al., 2018
5 (Portaluppi et al., 2012
6 Gan et al., 2015
7 Gradisar et al., 2011; Joshi, 2008; Magee, Marbas, Wright, Rajaratnam, & Broussard, 2016; van Maanen, Meijer, van der Heijden, & Oort, 2016
8 van Maanen et al., 2016
9 Chang, Aeschbach, Duffy, & Czeisler, 2015; Chellappa et al., 2013
Learn more about other ways you can manage your sleep.