What is circadian lighting and how can we benefit from it?

By: Secom
9 de May, 2022
Reading time: 5 min

Circadian lighting systems are becoming increasingly popular in many different areas of activity. What is the reasoning behind this trend? How can we benefit from it? And what is the link between these systems and the circadian cycle? This new manner of illuminating places of education, healthcare facilities and administrative buildings, among others, is one of many different types of lighting known as human centric lighting. In other words, lighting with people as its focal point. But what is the reason for its success?

In this article we will talk about...

  • What is circadian lighting?
  • The advantages of circadian lighting
  • Doing it right
  • Secom illumination control systems

What is circadian lighting?

Circadian lighting aims to mimic natural light so that it has a positive impact on people’s circadian rhythm, which is linked to the sleep, behaviour, energy and fatigue cycles that all human beings experience throughout the day. The rationale behind this is the fact that natural light has been proven to have a beneficial impact on these rhythms. In fact, it fosters certain mental, physical and behavioural changes in people’s circadian rhythm, which generally runs in cycles of 24 hours.

Poor quality light, meanwhile, can have a negative impact, including visual fatigue, poor quality sleep and an impaired ability to concentrate.

The advantages of circadian lighting

There are many different advantages to circadian lighting installations. For example, they improve people’s mood, boost their energy levels and regulate sleep cycles.

Avoiding sleep disorders

Circadian lighting installations imitate natural light. Our internal clock receives signals that have an impact on how much melatonin our body produces. In response, the hypothalamus (part of the brain responsible for regulating the circadian rhythm) triggers a process that produces drowsiness or states of concentration or alertness. This depends on how much light there is, on how intense the light is and on the colour temperature.

A state of alertness is linked to concepts such as luminosity, light intensity and a cool light temperature. Drowsiness, meanwhile, is associated with darkness, dim lights and a more orange or yellow colour temperature.

Sueño ciclo circadiano

Improving performance at work

An increasing number of companies, institutions and organisations are updating their lighting to incorporate systems of this kind. Among other advantages, they have managed to increase productivity and performance and decrease the time employees take off work due to poor health.

Doing it right

The concept of using light to guide a person’s circadian rhythm is relatively new to the lighting industry. Studies and research are still ongoing and they are continually leading to innovations. Implementation of circadian lighting systems currently focuses on the following aspects:

Light regulators

Regulators can be used to adjust levels of light. Adjusting the intensity of light is currently the most common and inexpensive solution. Luminaires have a fixed CCT (correlated colour temperature), but the intensity can be adjusted using a controlled dimming system so that there is a connection to the time of day.

Luminaires are configured to the lowest intensity level in the early hours of the morning. This increases as the day goes on and goes back down again at night.

A colour temperature per room

Colour adjustment means adapting the intensity and colour temperature of the light in a room to match the difference between day and night. Cooler colour temperatures (between 4,000 K and around 5,700 K) are used at midday when the sun is at its brightest. These are the lighter times of day and the period when people tend to be most alert. Therefore, cooler CCTs are used in places and at times when people need to boost their levels of concentration and focus.

Warmer colour temperatures (between 2,700 K and 3,500 K) represent the times of day when the sun rises and sets. That is, the time of day when most people wake up or go to bed.

Stimulus tuning is lighting technology that replaces the harmful blue colour that has a negative effect on melatonin production. Luminaires with this capacity can be programmed to decrease blue light waves in the evenings and at night without adjusting the CCT. This is similar to colour adjustment and it is more effective when combined with intensity adjustment.

Ciclo circadiano

Secom illumination control systems

Secom can supply clients with a number of different control systems that help to adjust lighting to match natural light. They including the following:

  • The Dali stand-alone control sensor, which can control up to 20 luminaires and up to 4 sensors.
  • The Dali Bluetooth switchboard, which can group and manage luminaires from a free mobile device app. It can control up to 64 luminaires and 16 sensors. It has 4 push buttons for making adjustments, plus an ‘on’ and ‘off’ button. It can also control CCT luminaires.
  • The Dali XL switchboard. 3 Dali Bus generator. It is configured online and can be accessed from personal computers, mobile phones and tablets. It manages a maximum of 192 luminaires and there is no limit to the sensors and push buttons. It can be used to create settings and programmes based on astronomical cycles. It controls RGB and CCT luminaires.

In addition, Secom has a wide-ranging catalogue of sensors, accessories and wireless connectivity products that can be used to create an optimised system.

Secom provides varied and versatile intelligent lighting solutions that adjust perfectly to the circadian cycle. They can reproduce natural light and incorporate changes in intensity throughout the day. This helps to boost motivation levels, well-being and safety in the workplace, all types of establishments and homes.

More in our blog