Researchers say color — and more specifically, blue-colored or heavily saturated red lighting — might be the key to boosting workers’ attentiveness and productivity on the job.
“Architectural lighting isn’t just for vision” these days, and it can have a significant impact on worker performance, according to a recent article in Architectural Lighting by Mariana Figueiro and Mark Rea of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
The researchers say using more blue light — think of what we see outdoors on a sunny day — in offices is helpful in increasing productivity and alertness because blue light effectively suppresses melatonin, a chemical released in the brain that makes you feel sleepy.
According to MarketWatch, the scientists also found that saturated red colors can have a “strong alerting effect without decreasing the hormone melatonin.” Figueiro tells MarketWatch:
“We have found having red light is like drinking a cup of coffee — it gives you alert effect without suppressing the melatonin.”
This is especially helpful information for people who work at night and want to feel alert without decreasing their melatonin output, which can affect the quality of their sleep.
All of this has to do with our body’s circadian rhythms — natural body cycles that rise and dip throughout the day, affecting our levels of sleepiness and alertness. Circadian rhythms are often to blame for the sleepy feeling you get in the early afternoon, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
The type of lighting you experience throughout the day can impact those natural body cycles.
Do you have trouble sleeping or falling asleep at night? Check out “Insomnia? Color May Be the Problem — and the Antidote.”
What kind of lighting do you have at work? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.