Light is no longer simply “on” or “off”


Prior to 1880 when Edison patented his electric light bulb, man lived by the cycles of day and night, maintaining a “circadian rhythm,”  the body's natural sleep-wake cycle. When the sun was up, we worked, when the sun was down, we slept. The light bulb enabled us to deviate from those cycles and schedule according to our desires. While that transition was freeing, it came at a cost…


Google the term circadian lighting or human centric lighting (HCI) and you will find endless amounts of information on how lighting affects both our physical and mental health. But anybody who owns an iPhone can actually see the theory in action. If enabled, “Night Shift” changes your iPhones backlight from a bright, almost blueish color to a much warmer, yellow color. Technically what is happening is the backlight on your phone is changing from a color temperature of roughly 7000 Kelvin to about 3000 Kelvin. That’s because at night, your body expects to experience color temperatures similar to that of a sunset, or the warm glow of a campfire color, roughly 1600 and 2200 Kelvin. Those lower, “warmer” color temperatures signal the body to start producing melatonin, which in turn makes you feel tired. Being exposed to higher, “cooler” color temps, similar to that of sunlight, inhibits melatonin production, thus keeping you awake longer.


Photo Courtesy of USAI

Photo Courtesy of USAI

In today’s world, we are spending approximately 90% of our day under artificial light that is generally static in output and color temperature. The thought is that if, like an iPhone, artificial light in the home and workplace can be manipulated to more accurately represent the natural cycles of the day and night, not only will be able to get to sleep faster, but we can experience improvements in our overall health and well-being, including improved cognition, mood  and alertness.


Circadian Lighting is here

We now have the ability to put this theory to the test!  And aside from the health benefits, there are several aesthetic benefits that are equally as exciting. In a modern home with walls of windows for example, circadian lighting can automatically adjust to match the color temperature of outdoors, so that the sunlight appears to flow through the entire home. Combine circadian lighting with motorized shades and the story is even more compelling. Now your home can appear to have loads of natural light even with the solar shades drawn. So, you can protect your homes furnishings and artwork without sacrificing the vibrant feeling that the higher color temperature of sunlight provides. And at night when you want that cozy, warm feeling, your lights will automatically adjust, just like your iPhone does.


Circadian lighting systems are the future. At Hamptons Lighting Design we are uniquely positioned to provide this type of advanced lighting system. Our home technology division has 15 years of experience incorporating lighting control systems into luxury homes and estates. These control systems are at the heart of the circadian lighting experience. Combined with our design team’s deep knowledge of modern luminaires and advanced installation techniques, we can deliver a one-stop, end-to-end solution. Call us today to find out how we can help you incorporate circadian lighting into your new or existing home.

No stress, no fuss, just light.