“A growing body of knowledge termed chronobiology has described the influence of light exposure on human physical and mental health, as well as behavior and performance.” stated Dr. Eve Edelstein in her article “Influence of Architecutral Lighting On Health”. To be very honest, I have never considered how big of a role lighting played in the growth of a human body. Though, if you really think about it, it all makes perfect sense. As Dr. Edelstein mentioned that in the 1700’s and the 1800’s they discovered how a perfectly living form such as plants and animals have behavioral influences on light, I began to realize it must effect us humans as well. The source of a plants ideal growth is having the right amount of water and sunlight. Depending on how much sunlight they get, the outcome would be different; too much sunlight can hurt them, however too little sunlight would not give the plant enough nutrients for them to grow vividly. With that stated, I can picture how us humans would need a source of lighting in our lives to be healthy, and too much or too little of it can effect our lives drastically. In another article from The Washington Post, “Lights at Night Are Linked to Breast Cancer” by RIck Weiss states that there were studies shown that prove women who live in neighborhoods with a lot of night time illumination have a higher chance of getting breast cancer. Studies also show that night time workers such as flight attendants and nurses have found breast cancer rates 60 percent then normal. Though, it is stated that light at night is not the only or a major risk factor for breast cancer. Day light savings time, surprisingly, is another occurring that effects the human body. I have never thought twice that something ordinary as day light savings would have an effect on the human body. Scientists have researched that in the spring, people’s peak activity levels were more in tune with their body clock than the actual clock. Anahad O’ Connor stated in the article, “Studies suggest that this disconnect between body time and clock time can result in restlessness, sleep disruption and shorter sleep duration.” Other research have been done that prove times changes effect the human body, and it increases the changes of heart attacks, suicides and accidents.
For us designers, lighting is something that we need to take a huge consideration of when we incorporate it in our design. There are many values to lighting. Lighting can change the setting of the mood in the space; as well as give characteristics to define a particular space. Though after reading these articles, it made me view lighting in a complete different perspective. The studies on lighting corresponding to the human body have been ongoing since the 1700’s, and it is proven that it effects our lives drastically. Us as designers have to consider those situations when we are designing. I have learned that lighting is not all about what kind of character it gives the space, or what kind of mood it sets. We need to consider the effects on the human health. Us designers have the power to design something to improve some of these statistics. As stated in the article in The Washington Post, night time workers such as flight attendants, nurses, and security guards should not have to risk their health because they have to go into work at night. Maybe sometime in the near future, there may be ways for us to figure out how to avoid those problems for people. It is a big consideration for us to think about the human health, and not only design to impress.
After reading these articles, I can truly say that it has opened up my mind a whole lot. It had made me thinking there are so many considerations in design; and designing is not always what looks the best. I think in my future designs these issues are something I would definitely incorporate in my design. There are many perspectives to design and what the “best” design is. I truly believe that the “best” design is being able to accommodate all needs. When I began my journey as a designer, these issues are things that I would have never thought that I would need to worry about in my design. However, these problems are one of the most important factors of design and by having more knowledge, hopefully I can strive to become a better designer.