Look for third-party certification and optimization programs to avoid blue light at the wrong time of dayA walk down the light bulb aisle at your local big box store will raise more questions than it answers.
The point-of-purchase advertisements make a number of claims: “Natural Daylight,” “Sleep,” “White Light,” and more. But like a lot of advertising, it won’t raise the issue that lighting experts increasingly are trying to solve: Exposure to artificial light at nighttime has been shown to disrupt circadian rhythm, and has been associated with sleep disruption, cancer and other medical problems.
Research indicates LED day-time health benefit, but possible nighttime riskIt’s not yet cost-effective for residential use. But Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology is improving every day and ultimately slated to replace most other artificial light forms. Will it yield, I ask hopefully, a more natural and healthful light than the compact fluorescent light bulbs I am using?
“You seek the Holy Grail,” answers Phil Richards, a senior instructor with The Juno Lighting Group. “And what you are asking about is an amazingly complex topic, currently being addressed by the American Medical Association (AMA) and medical societies in the European Union as well.”
The AMA issued an alert in June because of research that shows certain types of nighttime lighting suppress our natural circadian rhythm, and shift-workers have been shown to have an increased incidence of breast cancer and other medical conditions. Additional research published in April suggests a possible reason: The blue light -- in LED and all non-incandescent light forms in use today -- affects non-visual, blue-sensitive photoreceptors in the retina, which in turn suppresses melatonin production.