Although the holidays are a favorite, cheerful time of the year, they can also be a strain on our health. Stress levels tend to rise while our time becomes more scarce. Travel is often involved, which can be exciting but also exhausting. Obligations to relatives and our networks are unusually high, often compromising our self-care. And the days are shorter, giving us far less sunlight than we would prefer. So as we search for the right holiday gift, imagine the utility of a gift that could help counter the strain of the season and make each of our days a little bit brighter.
The Problem with Winter
The short winter days play a bigger role in our wellness than we may think. Access to natural light is a fundamental determinant of our well-being because it affects our circadian rhythm–an internal regulation system on a cellular level that signals the body’s biological clock, regulating healthy activity. Our circadian clock affects every cell throughout the body. When circadian rhythms are disrupted, such as by a lack of natural sunlight, it negatively affects many aspects of our health and how we function.
In the winter, we lack exposure to natural sunlight because our society has established lifestyles that keep us indoors during the day. Also, the shorter days cause us to use artificial lighting more often and for longer periods into the night. Given that artificial light lacks key elements of natural light, it cannot properly interact with circadian biology. Because our circadian rhythms respond primarily to light and darkness in our environment, these winter practices disrupt our natural rhythms and can cause a range of health issues such as social jet lag.
Social jet lag is a widespread issue in modern society. It occurs when normal sleep patterns are disrupted or become irregular and can cause physical, mental and emotional stress — including exhaustion, worsened moods, and decreased body functionality. It can even lead to a variety of long-term health problems, including increased risk for heart disease, metabolic disease, and obesity, for example.
Shining a Light on Circadian Solutions
True circadian lighting mitigates or eliminates social jet lag by establishing biologically brighter days and biologically darker nights that are aligned with our circadian rhythms. In doing so, it has the potential to prevent, manage, and cure many chronic diseases that affect millions of people.
BIOS SkyBlue® circadian lighting technology represents the missing link between artificial and natural light. It is spectrally-optimized to mimic natural sunlight and bring it indoors. An evolution on the technology the BIOS team developed at NASA for the International Space Station, SkyBlue infuses natural blue sky spectrum into LED light to bring the circadian benefits of the sun to your indoor environment. It is spectrally-optimized to mimic natural sunlight, improving health and well-being while reducing energy use. From office buildings, to schools, to our homes, circadian lighting can improve our concentration, energy, and overall productivity. Circadian lighting has even been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and depression, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and elevated nicotine/alcohol consumption. The energy savings and cutting edge status of the SkyBlue technology make Bios circadian lighting a sought-after contribution to any facility and home, with benefits and utility that long outlast the holiday season.