Science

The science behind BioCentric Lighting™ lies in the understanding of human anatomy and our responsiveness to light. Increasing amounts of research reiterate the importance of daylight for our health, wellbeing and sleep. Cutting edge technological and medicinal research is therefore continuously integrated into our concept, in cooperation with our scientific advisory board. This is to ensure we deliver the best scientifically-based lighting environments for all needs.

Light affects us in mainly three ways; visually, emotionally and biologically. The visual dimension is the traditional one, affecting what we see and how we are seen. The emotional dimension has to do with how light affects our mood, energy and state of mind. Interest in the third dimension, focusing on how we are biologically affected by light, is rapidly increasing. This is due to more and more people realizing the potential in using light to enhance alertness, cognitive performance and the sleep/wake cycle. BioCentric Lighting™ is a game changer in effectively handling all three of these dimensions of light.

Chronobiology and personalized light

Chronobiology is gaining importance in the understanding of human physiology. The innate rhythmicity of biological functions, where most fluctuate according to a circadian rhythm, thus prepare the body for daily recurring events such as eating and sleeping. The pancreatic clock regulates insulin secretion and its response to glucose; the hepatic clock regulates glucose clearance, the skeletal muscle clock regulates metabolism and glucose uptake, and so on³⁶. The suprachiasmatic nucleus in the hypothalamus is the synchronizer for all of the clocks in the body. It adjusts the production of hormones such as melatonin and cortisol. The timing of these processes is collectively called our circadian rhythm. Recent evidence points to a genetic variability of clock genes associated with individual differences in sleep and circadian physiology and non-visual response to light³⁷.

Circadian rhythms

Light is the most important time cue for the circadian rhythm¹⁵. Light stimulates via melanopsin-containing ganglion cells through the retinohypothalamic pathway the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN)¹⁶. The SCN in the hypothalamus is the master clock in the human brain and controls the circadian rhythm¹⁷.
As in other mammals, in humans, the biological clock shows only a small variation between individuals. Most people have a circadian rhythm that is slightly longer than 24 hours¹² which means that it needs to be corrected daily in relation to the solar day¹³. Without correction, the circadian rhythm is shifted slightly every day and gradually falls out of phase compared to the 24-hour solar day¹³.

Most people have a circadian rhythm that is slightly longer than 24 hours

The eye

It all starts in the eye. Eye formation begins 22 days into embryonic development, and the eye constantly develops up to the age of 6-8 years. In the back of the eye we have the retina which consists of several layers. Outermost are the photoreceptors. Up until 2000 it was believed to only exist two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. Recently a third photoreceptor with its own wavelength, separated from that of rods and cones, was discovered. Furthermore, this receptor was found in the ganglion cell layer and not in the photoreceptor layer of the retina. It contains melanopsin, a photopigment different from that of rods and cones with a spectra around 480 nm. The ganglion cells in the retina form the optic nerve that transport light information to the brain from the eye. Most of the nerve fibres projects to the visual cortex in the back of the brain. However approximately 5 % of the nerve fibres, those from the melanopsin containing ganglion cells, project directly on to hypothalamus and the suprachiasmatic nucleus where light information is used to synchronize the circadian rhythm with our surroundings.

LED & Light

Modern LED technology has introduced the possibility to adapt color saturation and brightness. Terms such as ”tunable white” and ”dynamic white” are often used within the lighting industry. The subsequent effect lighting has on health has led to the birth of a new term; Human Centric Lighting (HCL). However, to succeed in creating healthy lighting environments, both the LED technology and basic anatomy need to be considered. At BrainLit we use luminaries, sensors and control systems that adapt to real human needs instead of present standards. This is what we call BioCentric Lighting™. After years of extensive scientific research, we have produced innovative lighting environments that cater to individual needs.
Traditional lighting sources fail to regulate the circadian rhythm due to insufficient temperature, brightness or dynamic changes. It is estimated that 15-20 % of global electricity consumption is used with the purpose to generate lighting, from which less than 10 % of the energy ends up in useful light. This is caused by bad conversions or useless lighting, ”light pollution”. In addition, poor lighting environments with flickering and low intensity luminaires lead to high maintenance costs and negative health effects on humans and animals.
Ask Panel
Our Ask panel
Our LED technology is advanced in its endless possibilities for individual preferences and needs. We have developed luminaires which follow the natural daylight curve closely and mimics it both in intensity and color. Our lighting can be both static and dynamic depending on use and is always customizable. Try BioCentric Lighting™ and discover the difference.

Effects of Light

Light has a significant effect on biological functions and our daily routines, and is central to our well-being. Exposure to daylight affects our sleep quality, efficiency, alertness and similar other important factors for our health. Research has led to a number of exciting study results that form the basis of BioCentric Lighting™.

Light affects normal human physiology in a profound way such as sleep and growth. With light we can affect mood, improve sleep and treat depression. But light also has a direct alerting effect and can affect productivity, learning and memory consolidation.

Other effects of light on humans are diseases that demonstrate seasonal and diurnal patterns. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) are two examples, occurring in a higher frequency during the darker months of the year¹. Also several of the basic human behaviors and bodily physiology show a diurnal, in some cases even a seasonal, rhythm and are affected by light for their expression.

Benefits of BioCentric Lighting™

Higher alertness

Daylight exerts an alerting effect on our brain. We spend more time indoors today than ever and see less daylight than we biologically need. BrainLit’s BioCentric Lighting™ System stimulates the natural production of the activation hormone cortisol during the day by mimicking variations of daylight indoors, improving cognition, drive and creativity.

Better sleep

Humans follow a sleep/wake cycle, making us alert at certain times of the day and sleepy at others. Light is a key factor influencing this cycle, also called the circadian rhythm. A disrupted circadian rhythm affects us negatively in many aspects, and may cause sleep disorders. BrainLit’s BioCentric Lighting™ System contributes in balancing the circadian rhythm.

Improved productivity

BrainLit’s BioCentric Lighting™ System contribute in balancing level and timing of production of the activation hormone cortisol and the sleep hormone melatonin. The outcome is a balanced circadian rhythm, which improves wellness and stamina as a result of better sleep and higher alertness.

Stronger immune system

BrainLit’s BioCentric Lighting™ System contributes to a circadian rhythm in balance. By mimicking daylight indoors it benefits many physiological processes vital to our health, including the immune system, metabolism, blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature.

Health

Humans are created for a circadian rhythm with day and night. Nowadays people reside indoors most of their time and do not receive natural synchronization with exposure to sunlight. Light indoors usually does not have the same intensity as daylight and in addition, there is not the variation in color spectra which is present in daylight. Exposure to light is also common at night, a time when sensitivity to light exposure is greatest, which further augments the desynchronization with daylight¹³. Social life patterns are often also separated from the solar day, which furthers a phase shift between circadian rhythm and rhythm of life. Shift workers often have a circadian misalignment and are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, impaired glucose metabolism, and cancer¹⁴.
Modern lifestyles vary significantly in relation to the natural light-dark cycle. Eating habits, exercise, traveling and work commitments affect our access to daylight. These influencing parameters are individual and affect our sleep-wake cycle. Sudden external disturbances of the rhythm such as moving rapidly across latitudes cause changes in the rhythm. Clocks in different tissues adapt to these changes at a different rate causing de-synchronization. Light can be one disturber to the rhythm – feeding, exercise and outside temperature are others³⁸.
Sleep
Sleep-related problems are very common in society today. Lack of sleep leads to poor judgment, increased impulsiveness and lack of memory. Sleep patterns are directly connected with our circadian rhythm. A summary of research shows that light can correct a disturbed circadian rhythm²⁰, ²¹. Light exposure in the evening/early night shifts the melatonin onset to a later hour the next night, and light in early morning pushes the melatonin onset to an earlier hour the following night¹³. The strength of the synchronization depends on the light distribution and on the time of exposure²². An improved circadian rhythm is associated with improved sleep and reduced depressive symptoms²³.
Depending on diagnostic criteria, studies report 10-30 % of the general population suffering from some form of sleep-related disorder. Often there is a phase shift where the rhythm of life, the circadian rhythm, and the hormones associated with metabolic rhythm do not harmonize¹⁸. A disturbed circadian rhythm has been shown to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and is seen as a likely link to cancer¹⁹.
Reducing exposure to blue light by wearing protective glasses in the evening is one way of improving night sleep²⁹. On the other hand, light, and especially blue light, in the morning stabilizes the circadian rhythm¹³. It also appears to be protective against light at other times which otherwise could shift the circadian rhythm and disturb sleep³⁰, ³¹, ³².
Light as a treatment for depression
Light has been used to treat depression for many years²⁴,²⁵. Published studies also show that a combination of pharmacological therapy and light is more effective than psychopharma alone, and chronobiological therapy is advancing²⁶. Similarly, daylight exposure has been used to reduce depression symptoms in individuals with dementia, a group that is largely affected by depression²⁷. Seasonal depression seems to be equally effective treated with blue-enriched white light at 750 lux as a standard bright lux at 10 000 lux²⁸.
Light exposure for the eye
Myopia is characterized by a growth of the eye where the eye is becoming too long in relation to the optics of the eye, placing the image in front of the retina. In a recently published report, light intensity and spectra were shown to affect the growth of the eye in an animal model³³. In another recent report, it was found that time spent outdoors prevents the development of myopia³⁴. In yet another study, it was also shown that time and intensity of light is crucial for the development of myopia³⁵. Receiving less than 40 min of bright daily light (> 1,000 lux) could predispose to faster growth, and it was speculated whether there is a minimum amount of light required to reduce growth.

Function

Alertness
Light affects our alertness⁶. Exposure to blue-enriched white light has an awakening effect³ and monochromatic blue light (420 nm) induce greater alertness compared to light with longer wavelengths, which is apparent also after long time exposure⁷. It is speculated whether this effect at daytime might be mediated via direct intrinsically photoreceptive retinal ganglion cells’ projections to the thalamic regions in the brain⁷.
Cognition, productivity, and concentration
Blue light seems to improve cognition⁸ and positively affect long time memory consolidation⁹. Also, blue light exposure among office workers has been shown to have positive long-term effects on productivity and concentration¹⁰, ¹¹.

Emotion

Mood
Lower mood is an effect of poor lighting¹. In a population-based study in Finland, self-reported inadequate indoor illumination is associated with mental ill-being². In the same study, it was found that the negative effect of poor lighting is even more significant than the positive effect gained from regular physical exercise². On the other hand, light can also enhance mood. Blue-toned white light has a direct mood enhancing effect³ and several studies indicate that dawn simulations in the morning improve the subjective perception of well-being⁴.
Stress reducing
The importance of adequate lighting in schools and its effect on well-being is important to reduce children’s level of stress. A group of Swedish researchers have argued for better lighting conditions to improve school environments⁵.

Effect of light dependents

  • Intensity
  • Timing
  • Wavelength
  • Length stimuli
  • Previous light history
  • Other influences such as food and excercise

Positive effects of the right light

  • Synchronizes a disturbed circadian rhythm and promotes sleep
  • Efficient treatment of seasonal affective disorder
  • Augmented effect in treatment of depression paired with pharmacological treatment
  • Increased learning among school children
  • Increased melatonin levels among stroke patients
  • Cyclic light helps premature children with weight gain and subsequently shortens length of hospital stay
  • Light appears to be protective for myopia development
The biological effect of light is bigger than most people are aware of. With more and more time being spent indoors and in front of screens, our bodies fail to synchronize with sunlight. To maintain and improve our well-being and create a better future for our children, it is vital that we maintain our circadian rhythm. With Biocentric Lighting™ we control and combine the light parameters that influence your physiology. These are wavelength, intensity, direction, timing and duration. Our lighting environments are designed to have the same positive effects as daylight, securing a natural synchronization with biological clocks.

References

1. Küller R, Ballal S, Laike T, Mikellides B, Tonello G. Ergonomics. 2006 Nov 15;49(14):1496-507.
2. Grimaldi S, Partonen T, Saarni SI, Aromaa A, Lönnqvist J. Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2008 Aug 1;6:56. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-6-56.
3. Choi K, Shin C, Kim T, Chung HJ, Suk HJ. Sci Rep. 2019 Jan 23;9(1):345. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-36791-5.
4. Gabel V, Maire M, Reichert CF, Chellappa SL, Schmidt C, Hommes V, Viola AU, Cajochen C. Chronobiol Int. 2013 Oct;30(8):988-97. doi: 10.3109/07420528.2013.793196. Epub 2013 Jul 10.
5 . NyTeknik, Debate. 23 juni 2015
6. Figueiro MG, Nagare R, Price L. Light Res Technol. 2018;50(1):38-62
7. Rahman SA, St Hilaire MA, Lockley SW. Physiol Behav. 2017 Aug 1;177:221-229. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2017.05.002. Epub 2017 May 1.
8. Lehrl S, Gerstmeyer K, Jacob JH, Frieling H, Henkel AW, Meyrer R, Wiltfang J, Kornhuber J, Bleich S. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2007;114(4):457-60
9. Alkozei A, Smith R, Dailey NS, Bajaj S, Killgore WDS. PLoS One. 2017 Sep 18;12(9):e0184884.
10. Viola AU, James LM, Schlangen LJ, Dijk DJ. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2008 Aug;34(4):297-306
11. Conference paper: 2002 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings, Volume: 8
12. Czeisler CA, Duffy JF, Shanahan TL, Brown EN, Mitchell JF, Rimmer DW, Ronda JM, Silva EJ, Allan JS, Emens JS, Dijk DJ, Kronauer RE. Science. 1999 Jun 25;284(5423):2177-81
13. Duffy JF, Czeisler CA. Sleep Med Clin. 2009 Jun;4(2):165-177
14. Boivin DB, Tremblay GM, James FO. Sleep Med. 2007 Sep;8(6):578-89. Epub 2007 May 3. Review 
15. Zeitzer JM, Khalsa SB, Boivin DB, Duffy JF, Shanahan TL, Kronauer RE, Czeisler CA. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2005 Sep;289(3):R839-44
16. Berson DM, Dunn FA, Takao M. Science. 2002 Feb 8;295(5557):1070-3
17. Reppert SM, Weaver DR. Nature. 2002 Aug 29;418(6901):935-41. Review.
18. Skene DJ, Skornyakov E, Chowdhury NR, Gajula RP, Middleton B, Satterfield BC, Porter KI, Van Dongen HPA, Gaddameedhi S. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 Jul 24;115(30):7825-7830

19. Panda S ”The circadian code” ISBN 978-1-63565-243-7
20. Dautovich ND, Schreiber DR, Imel JL, Tighe CA, Shoji KD, Cyrus J, Bryant N, Lisech A, O’Brien C, Dzierzewski JM. Sleep Health. 2019 Feb;5(1):31-48
21. Wright KP Jr, McHill AW, Birks BR, Griffin BR, Rusterholz T, Chinoy ED. Curr Biol. 2013 Aug 19;23(16):1554-8
22. Wright KP Jr, Gronfier C, Duffy JF, Czeisler CA. J Biol Rhythms. 2005 Apr;20(2):168-77
23. Figueiro MG, Steverson B, Heerwagen J, Kampschroer K, Hunter CM, Gonzales K, Plitnick B, Rea MS. Sleep Health. 2017 Jun;3(3):204-215
24. Pail G, Huf W, Pjrek E, Winkler D, Willeit M, Praschak-Rieder N, Kasper S. Neuropsychobiology. 2011;64(3):152-62
25. Golden RN, Gaynes BN, Ekstrom RD, Hamer RM, Jacobsen FM, Suppes T, Wisner KL, Nemeroff CB. Am J Psychiatry. 2005 Apr;162(4):656-62
26. Dallaspezia S, Suzuki M, Benedetti F. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2015 Dec;17(12):95
27. Konis K Buliding and Env. 2018 112-123
28. Meesters Y, Dekker V, Schlangen LJ, Bos EH, Ruiter MJ. BMC Psychiatry. 2011 Jan 28;11:17
29. Ostrin LA, Abbott KS, Queener HM. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2017 Jul;37(4):440-450
30. Münch M, Nowozin C, Regente J, Bes F, De Zeeuw J, Hädel S, Wahnschaffe A, Kunz D. Neuropsychobiology. 2016;74(4):207-218
31. Kozaki T, Kubokawa A, Taketomi R, Hatae K. J Physiol Anthropol. 2015 Jul 4;34:27
32. Rångtell FH, Ekstrand E, Rapp L, Lagermalm A, Liethof L, Búcaro MO, Lingfors D, Broman JE, Schiöth HB, Benedict C. Sleep Med. 2016 Jul;23:111-118
33. Troilo D, Smith EL 3rd, Nickla DL, Ashby R, Tkatchenko AV, Ostrin LA, Gawne TJ, Pardue MT, Summers JA, Kee CS, Schroedl F, Wahl S, Jones L. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2019 Feb 28;60(3):M31-M88
34. Rose KA, French AN, Morgan IG. Asia Pac J Ophthalmol (Phila). 2016 Nov/Dec;5(6):403-410. Review
35. Read SA, Collins MJ, Vincent SJ. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2015 Oct;56(11):6779-87
36. Johnston JD, Ordovás JM, Scheer FA, Turek FW. Adv Nutr. 2016 Mar 15;7(2):399-406
37. Archer SN, Schmidt C, Vandewalle G, Dijk DJ. Sleep Med Rev. 2018 Aug;40:109-126
38. McKenna H, van der Horst GTJ, Reiss I, Martin D. Crit Care. 2018 May 11;22(1):124