We may sense the upbeat of sudden sunshine, or feel a preference for a café with inviting lighting, but in general we don’t pay much attention to light. Yet the quality and quantity of light we’re exposed to has a profound effect on our bodies and minds. All living beings – ourselves included – have evolved to a fundamental rhythm of dark nights and light days and are finely tuned to adjust to subtle cues as light dawns or fades. Light tells plants which way to grow and birds when to sing. It affects our mood, skin, nervous system, eyesight, sex drive and circadian rhythm.
We spend more and more of our lives exposed to artificial light, and now the nature of that light is changing dramatically, in ways we may not understand but which our bodies perceive. The EU ban on incandescent lighting has forced the move to new forms of ‘low-energy’ lighting, which contains more of the blue end of the light spectrum. While the legislation seemed well intentioned, many people began to report pain and ill health when exposed to new forms of light, especially LED and modern fluorescent, with symptoms including searing eye pain, migraine and debilitating headaches, skin rashes, dizziness, agitation and anxiety.