Circadian rhythms refer to our biological clock, which follows a daily cycle of physical, mental and behavioural changes that respond, above all else, to the light and darkness that surrounds us.
Not only do changes in circadian rhythms often lead to sleep disorders, but they can also affect a person’s hormone levels or metabolism, increasing the chance of developing diabetes or suffering from heart disease. A clear example of this is the phenomenon known as jet lag, which is nothing more than our circadian rhythm struggling to adapt to the time zone in the destination country.
It’s evident that circadian rhythms are crucial for our wellbeing; as such, architecture and light always go hand-in-hand with one another. Ranging from gothic cathedrals to the modern projects of Frank Wright, proper light treatment has always been a determining factor in architecture.
Nowadays, people who live in large cities spend most of their time in closed-off spaces. As such, light design often focuses on adapting the artificial light of a space to our natural rhythm, thus improving our quality of life.
With this in mind, circadian light is increasingly coming into play in interior designs – particularly in work spaces. Light design adapted to circadian rhythms improves the employee’s health and wellbeing, which translates into greater productivity for the companies.
Away from the working environment, we must also stress the importance of adapting light design at home to circadian rhythms. Just as natural light changes at different times of day, we recommend adapting the light of each space to its designated use. For example, we suggest installing warm light in bedrooms, as these are places of rest; likewise, we recommend cold light in dynamic spaces such as the kitchen. For communal areas, we recommend a medium light temperature. You could also go one step further and install devices that allow you to regulate the temperature and intensity of the lighting.
In short, light design—comprising natural light in architecture and the management of artificial light in inside spaces—can be hugely beneficial for our health and wellbeing when adapted to our circadian rhythms.