How is light in my home connected to health?

Let’s start with something simple: Sleeping better makes you healthier.

The corollary is also true—sleeping poorly will make you less healthy. Just ask science. A lack of sleep has been linked to chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease, and even to getting colds more often. Not getting enough sleep might lead to weight gain and obesity.

And as study after study has shown, there are plenty of advantages to getting a good night’s sleep. Sleeping better can improve your marriage and your sex life. It can improve your workouts and other athletic performance. And getting a great night’s sleep will make you more productive at work—sharper, less prone to mistakes, more energized, more personable.

So the question becomes: How do you get a better night’s sleep? The easiest place to start is by practicing healthy sleep habits. And it turns out that one of the main factors in whether you get a good night’s sleep is light.

As you likely already know (and as Harvard researchers have conclusively demonstrated), blue light—the kind that emanates from your devices—makes for bad sleep. So the first place to start is to put away your phone, your laptop and/or your tablet up to three hours before bedtime.

Another culprit? What scientists call “social jetlag.” For most of human history, people set their sleep schedules to the sun—when it rose, people got up. When it set, people went to bed. But thanks to brilliant inventor / enemy of natural sleep Thomas Edison and his notorious light bulb, people started setting their sleep schedules around school or work, getting up before sunrise to get ready, or staying up well past sunset. As a result, your body becomes out of sync with the world around you, as if your watch is set to the wrong time zone. (Hence the reference to jetlag.) The end result? A rough night’s sleep, and all of the consequences outlined above.

Natural Lighting Patterns Promote Better Sleep

To get back on the right track—to reclaim your nights and get more out of your days—you have a few options. You could go back to nature and set your sleep schedule to the sun—great if you’re a farmer, not so much if you want to be part of society. You could do nothing and just hope it all works itself out. (Note: Not likely.) Or your third option, which is to take advantage of technology to give your body what it wants anyway: The slow onset of light in the morning (a critical component of sleeping well). And the slow offset of light in the evening.

Achieving that on and off switch manually would be… tricky. Fortunately, there’s a light system that automatically detects your life habits, and structures your home’s lighting around it. Since you’re on this website, you might have guessed the name of that system: Orro, a first-of-its-kind lighting system that schedules your home’s lights around you, mimicking what suits your body best. In other words, your home’s lights will naturally “rise” when you’re waking up and “set” when you’re winding down—a pattern that will help make your nights more restful and your days more productive.

See? Simple. Light is a key to living a healthy and happy life. 

Colin Billings