Light-Headed: How Your Light Affects Your Moods

Sure, candlelight is romantic—but the true effect of light on our emotions and moods goes far deeper than you may expect. Here’s how light affects our emotions:


It’s Food for Moods: 

Ever notice you feel calm and relaxed when there’s natural light flooding through your windows? Or maybe you’ve found yourself prone to depression on days when you’re in the dark.

You’re not imagining it: Exposure to light affects our serotonin levels, so more is better. (That’s why you usually feel better after a walk outdoors!)



It’s Fit for Focus: 

There’s no dim lighting at the gym—or at school, or in your office. In environments where concentration is necessary, light is always bright—that’s because bright light stimulates the brain. Neutral white (color temperature around 4000 K) is recommended for tasks requiring long-term concentration, like taking a class or reading.

Daylight white (color temperature of 5000 K or more) is suggested for high-energy activities (example: gym or tennis court)



It Knows It’s Bedtime: 

Our circadian rhythms are set by daylight—our bodies literally set their internal clocks based on exposure to light. To keep your body “on time,” avoid bright lights in the evening, which can prolong your day and make it harder to get to sleep. Also avoid clear white or cool white light, and opt instead for warm light (color temperature below 3000K) or light with warm color and low brightness.



It Enlightens Us: 

There’s some evidence that says that people experience emotions more intensely under bright lights. That’s why you’ll often see characters in movies under harsh lighting as they make startling realizations.

Light-Headed: How Your Light Affects Your Moods
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