The Benefits of Light: Illuminating the Path to Better Well-being

Have you ever considered how light is affecting you? We are constantly exposed to it in nature and technology and utilise it in a range of ways which impacts us both physically and mentally. It affects our alertness and performance throughout the day and helps us regulate our sleep. Evidence suggests that different forms of light may provide different benefits, for example, speed up recovery for mental and physical conditions. In care environments, there have been links to improved mood, faster recovery from surgery and lower mortality rates when natural light is present. Light can have a significant impact on an older person’s well-being, many have sensitive sleep patterns which could be affected by what light they are exposed to. Therefore, it is important to know the different forms of light and how we can utilise it for better well-being…


We are primarily exposed to three categories of light which affect our physical functions throughout the day:


Blue, cooler light (short wavelength)


This physically makes us more alert; it is linked with better performance and concentration and is best during the day. It is not as ideal in the evening as it can prevent our melatonin from producing properly. Melatonin is the hormone which regulates sleep and wakefulness, it should increase in the evening to prepare us to sleep, if this is suppressed it can disrupt this process.


Red light, warm light (long-wavelength)


This is the one you want to use when relaxing or completing low-demanding tasks; it is linked to improved short-term memory, problem-solving, and has less impact on melatonin production, so it is the better choice to use in the evening.


White Light/Sunlight (Combination of both)


This is the best of both worlds. It can enhance mood and performance, improving both physical and mental health as well as improving sleep quality.


It is important to note any wavelength of light in the evening can disrupt our sleep, but blue light is the biggest culprit. There is evidence however to suggest focusing on the brightness of the light is more important in this case as low light can prevent it from affecting us physically. Instead, we may consider the emotional impact of the colours themselves and how they influence us. For example, blue is often associated with a sense of calmness, while red is commonly linked to alertness and energy due to its colour associations.


The preference for colour can vary for everyone with age and culture being a large factor. A study suggests younger people are more likely to prefer warmer redder colours whereas older people are more likely to prefer cooler bluer colours. All in all, in the evening, it is best to keep light levels in general low and focus on how the colour of light makes you feel. In a care setting perhaps this is something to keep in mind and ask the residents about when planning for their care.

Overall, when utilising light in the day the general pattern seems to be:


Bright white/ blue light during the day


Dim red light in the evening.


Do you have more to say? Did you find this helpful? Let us know!

Continue the conversation on our socials…

#WellBeingWeek #Healthcare






Did you find everything you needed today?

If not, you can call us on 0121 714 5522

Scroll to Top