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Effects of Quality Lighting on a Seniors Health

It should come as no surprise that lighting can affect the way that you feel. A well-lit room makes us happier for reasons that we can't explain. Likewise, sunshine can improve your mood and cloudy days can make you drag your feet. What most people don't know is that this is a physiological reaction to the quality of light itself.

Within the complex of hormones in your body, the endocrine system dispenses those that control your circadian rhythm - that includes your patterns of temperature and alertness in addition to how often you sleep. The endocrine system changes these patterns in direct relation to what kind of light you see, as strange as that might sound. Exactly how light controls your endocrine system is not fully understood yet. Nevertheless, the effects of certain kinds of light on your overall health can be generalized. In particular, seniors should be aware of the effects of the quality of light on their health. Here are a three of those effects and how seniors can best adjust to them.


Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is commonly known in areas that receive a limited or widely fluctuating amount of daylight throughout the year. During the winter, when things get dark, certain people will become depressed. You might think this is a reaction to the painful cold. It isn't. Instead, the mood of these people is directly linked to their light intake. Shorter days and limited light throws off the production of hormones, which in turn can result in depression for some.

Mood can play a big part in a person's overall health, especially as a senior. A positive outlook goes a long way in relieving any and all ailments. For someone who lives in a sunny area, it's important to get at least a little sunlight every day. Those living in a place where cloud cover is common, or which has short days seasonally, can get artificial lights that simulate sunshine and give the same health benefits. These were designed for seasonal affective sufferers in particular.


Sleep is something else that affects your overall quality of life. There's hardly any part of your body that isn't aided by a good night's sleep. Although sunlight is good for you, and it keeps your body's rhythms in check, too much will hurt your ability to get proper rest. This is also the result of the chemical composition of your brain, and it's related to the mood disorder mentioned above. When there is little light, your brain starts to produce melatonin, which is the chemical that makes you feel sleepy.

When seniors find that they're not getting enough sleep, it can be a bad sign for their overall health. The fix is simply to dim the lights, which they can do no matter where they are geographically. They should make sure to avoid bright lights at least a half an hour before going to sleep, and if necessary, to take a blindfold with them to bed.

Eye Health

Of course, the quality of light in an area can affect the health of your eyes too. This might be another concern for seniors. To reduce eye strain, while working on some task, seniors should ensure that the object of their focus is well-lit but not blindingly bright. Focusing in darkness exerts your eyes and over time this will deteriorate your vision. On the other hand, blinding brightness can do just that: blind.

As you can see, lighting is important for a seniors health and safety.

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