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Crestron Electronics, Inc.

Crestron offers the only complete end-to-end solution with a complete line of hardware and software. Crestron not only connects and controls devices; we integrate and automate all the building systems to provide a connected experience. We deliver integrated solutions for audio, video, IP, lighting and climate control making wiring and installations easier and promoting system integrity.

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New Research on Circadian Lighting Reveals More Potential Benefits
Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2022
New Research on Circadian Lighting Reveals More Potential Benefits

Nov. 8, 2022 - While it's been talked about in popular media for years, the research is beginning to highlight concrete examples: Yes, artificial circadian light — illumination that mimics the color temperature of sunlight (or lack thereof) throughout the day and night — may impact sleep and other wellness factors in humans. The impact of exposure to sunlight and how it affects us is outlined in this fairly comprehensive article from 2019 published by the U.S. National Institute of Health: Effects of light on human circadian rhythms, sleep and mood.

Among other findings, the article points out the detrimental effects of "smartphone light" exposure before bed, for example. The good news: There's a growing body of evidence that human-centric lighting solutions really may be quite beneficial. Some examples:

  • Over the last seven years, the U.S. government's General Services Administration studied the impacts of daylight on workers and discovered — to oversimplify things a bit — that big windows weren't enough. The GSA then conducted a study at the Federal Highway Administration Turner Fairbanks Highway Research Center in McLean, Virginia, and at the VA Medical Center in White River Junction, Vermont, where researchers gave workers "circadian effective" LED desktop lamps. Staffers there reported feeling less sleepy and more alert. The next phase of the research used tunable LEDs at the U.S. Department of State in Washington, DC, and yielded similar results.
  • In another case, researchers at the Light and Health Research Center from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (NYC) studied 20 apartment dwellers. In order to immerse the subjects in circadian light, they utilized electrochromic glass windows for one week, then compared that data to a week spent with traditional windows and blinds. When the subjects were bathed in light that mimicked the patterns of outdoor light, they fell asleep faster in the evening, slept more regularly, and experienced greater vitality — a feeling of being well-rested — when they woke. (The research was conducted at the height of the pandemic, so the participants were already spending the bulk of their time indoors.)
  • A recent article from CE Pro noted a Harvard study that indicated that the right lighting could dramatically reduce falls among seniors:
  • The results show a decrease of falling incidents by as much as 43% — however, rather than it being a case of making the environment brighter, the lighting focused on mimicking a natural circadian rhythm throughout the day. The reason for this lies in the main strength of circadian lighting: promoting a healthier sleep schedule. This in turn helped to foster a greater alertness in residents, which then led to reduced falls.

The Rest of the Solution

Of course, shading is another aspect of lighting, and introducing more natural light into a space during the day is certainly beneficial. As Crestron's Residential Products Manager, Victor Menendez, told us earlier this year:

"When you're doing a design, you first start with daylighting. You illuminate everything and anything that you can with daylight and then you supplement light based on the needs for those areas." Does the space demand ambient, task, or accent light beyond the daylight coming in?

Another factor that affects the design is a simple one: paint. Menendez quotes a paper titled Circadian Effects of Daylighting in a Residential Environment: Simply put, white paint brightens a room so much so that it's akin to adding no less than 55 circadian "days" to a building's daylight cycles.

Nighttime is a different story, naturally. From our partners at Delos:

Blackout shades can help eliminate outdoor light pollution to support a darker sleep environment. You can choose smart shades (or program regular shades to be controlled by automated home assistants) to automatically align with your bedtime and wake-up time – for a ready-to-go sleep sanctuary!

Automated lighting and shading solutions are all available via the Crestron Home® platform — and Crestron's new lighting fixtures are the right delivery devices for a completely tunable circadian experience. "Utilizing the Crestron Home OS and pairing our new LED fixtures and shading solutions together means that you can always put lighting at the heart of any solution," says Michael Short, Crestron's senior director of residential and hospitality marketing. "Products work better when designed to work together, and this is exactly what our lighting, shading, and control of those solutions do." Additionally, a platform that can automate these solutions adds another benefit. For example: Sun streaming in and creating screen glare in your home office? Imagine a one-touch solution that closes the shades while tuning interior fixtures to mimic sunlight. "There are literally endless use cases for lighting and shading optimized to support your circadian rhythm," he says.