Get your home light right…finally

Most of us have read about circadian lighting for years: the new lighting technologies that are tunable, biodynamic and sync with the time of day. You would think with all the talk that most of us would have it. We think 2020 will be the year that the light bulb goes off: More people will finally bring circadian lighting and behaviors into their homes. Some of the change will be no-tech: adopting regimes where you disconnect from devices/TV and dim lights well before bed—banishing iPads/phones from the room. We will naturally learn over time that sleep means avoiding light—and the time to disconnect from our devices well before sleep is NOW.

More people will make a simple switch in their home lighting: using bright, short wavelength, blue-light bulbs in the day and switching to dimmer, warmer, longer wavelength bulbs with red, yellow and orange color spectrums (think: campfire) at dusk—which boosts melatonin. And more people will go highest-tech: with app-, Bluetooth- and Wi-Fi-controlled LED tunable lights in their homes that automatically adjust day and night light color temperature and brightness levels.

Circadian lighting was a $400 million market in 2017, expected to jump to $4 billion by 2024[11], because we now have the technology, and more people will use it. People spend so much on their wellness; they need to spend a few more bucks on their bulbs.

There’s an explosion of circadian lighting solutions hitting the market. Healthe, developed with NASA scientists, has a wireless control device that uses GPS to track the positions of its “SunTrac” lightbulbs with the aim of simulating the natural arc of the sun throughout the day, transitioning from daytime blue light for productivity to mimicking light that promotes the brain’s natural response to sunset. The straightforward Soraa Healthy Lightbulb emits dimmable “Zero Blue” light. Dyson’s new Lightcycle lights adapt brightness and color based on time of day, owner’s routine and even age. Savant just launched an app-based home lighting system that is all about flexibility: You can set different light schedules for different rooms (i.e., you need a brighter kitchen, and the kids are on a different schedule)—or just press the button, and it switches rooms to the natural setting, based on astronomical time and your location.

Sleep masks that bring customized light therapy right to your face, serving up dimmer, red light at night when you’re trying to fall asleep and blue light to wake you up, such as Sound Oasis or Illumi, are taking off—with Dreamlight’s model also letting you set the mask’s temperature. Blue light-blocking glasses are going mainstream: Warby Parker just launched its own line.

Forecasting the Future

  • Our homes are *everything* now, and COVID-19 is accelerating the trend of making our live-work spaces more well. Lighting will become increasingly key: More people will bring circadian lighting into their homes. Many companies make lighting systems/bulbs that promote alertness in the day and support sleep at night, but people will increasingly realize they’re not all the same. Experts say that products that emit white light enriched in the 480nm wavelength in the day and deplete 480nm for evening use are best. And evidence mounts that the color of light might matter more: bright, blue light in the day and red, yellow and orange color spectrums at dusk.
  • Immune health is fast becoming its own “lane” in wellness, from wellness resorts with new immunity-focused programs to immunity supplements, some science-based, some not. The medical evidence agrees that our circadian rhythms control our response to potential infection. It will become increasingly clear that focusing on “immunity” without addressing circadian management is not the best science.
  • Science also increasingly reveals there is a big range in people’s circadian rhythms. The future is more individualized solutions and apps that time interventions, including light and melatonin, to people’s clocks: their work schedules, natural sleep “clock,” caffeine intake—even alerting them when to eat and exercise.

This is an excerpt from the “Focus Shifts from Sleep to True Circadian Health” trend in the 2020 Global Wellness Trends Report.

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