Use of lighting to improve health and wellbeing
Lighting affects our health. It affects our mood and circadian rhythms. Poor lighting is linked to glare, headaches, eyestrain, skin conditions and various types of sight loss. So what can building owners and occupants do about it?
2 - Reduce exposure to glare. Arrange visual display units so that reflected glare from luminaires and other brightly-lit areas is limited or avoided. Use matt rather than gloss finishes. Use bright finishes of high reflectance for ceilings and walls to enhance the overall luminance of the space.
3 - Use daylight where possible. Raise blinds when not needed. Create areas with plenty of sunlight and good ventilation so they do not overheat.
4 - Get outside. Exposure to bright daylight and sunlight can help keep the body clock entrained and avoid the symptoms of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
6 - Reduce shift work, especially night work. Rapid rotation of shifts (a change every few days) is better than weekly rotation as this interferes with circadian rhythms. Use clockwise rotation of shifts (morning, afternoon and night) to ensure adequate rest. Avoid early starts to morning shifts.
7 - Dispose of lamps correctly. Follow Public Health England recommendations for dealing with broken fluorescent lamps to reduce exposure to mercury. Recycle lamps at the end of life by following local lamp recycling instructions.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
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- Building Research Establishment.
- Cheshire Oaks: Marks and Spencer
- Daylight benefits in healthcare buildings
- Daylight lighting systems.
- General lighting v task lighting.
- Health and wellbeing impacts of natural and artificial lighting.
- Light shelf.
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- Lighting and health infographic.
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