The major lighting challenge within the medical industry is addressing the needs of patients and staff, providing enough light for staff to work around the clock whilst not compromising lights ability to promote rest and recovery. As our industry develop their understanding of light to well-being our lighting design practises must innovate and consider trends. So, what do we know so far about light and well-being and how are we adjusting?
Simulating the Circadian Rhythm
The circadian rhythm is the body’s natural clock, it is traced back to our days as hunter and gatherers but still plays an important role today, promoting hormone production and sleep cycles (see below image). However, like most things our rhythm has been thrown out of whack as we spend less time in our natural environment and more time stretching our work lives in offices under synthetic light. An emerging wave of light education has introduced a new demand for synthetic light to simulate natural lighting and thus promote health and well-being. This process becomes more complicated in a hospital environment as patients require light that seamlessly supports our natural rhythm and staff require light to supports task. The challenge for our industry is to produce lighting designs and products that are both multi-functional and autonomous, allowing healthy practises for both staff and patients.
Tuneable white Luminaires contain a mixture of diodes that can provide warm or cold light, mixing them throughout the day creates a colour temperature range between bright white and warm hues (see gif below) . This creates flexibility for lights to be coded to best simulate the circadian cycle. As the evenings become night warm tones must be generated to prepare the body for sleep, in the instance of H.I. Lighting's newest project, Saint John of God, Subiaco (SJOG), the tuneable luminaires are time coded across rooms to match the rhythm of natural light in Perth. This is among Australia’s first use of this technology in a Hospital and is led by the understanding of how light can affect well-being.
The Medical Industry in Australia is progressing as the world learns and adapts to more and more information. Creating the correct lighting design to partner with this innovation is essential so that our hospitals can continue to support medical innovation. H.I.Lighting are happy to cooperate with WA Government initiatives and work towards creating perfect lighting solution in Western Australia’s Hospitals.