Recently, the Rensselaer's Lighting Research Center (LRC) has been testing the effects that lighting with a blue tint can significantly help Alzheimer's patients with their sleep cycles. Our bodies follow rhythm that repeats approximately every 24 hours. This rhythm is called circadian rhythms. "Circadian rhythms are synchronized to the solar day by light/dark cycles. Figueiro says exposure to blue light is much better at improving the sleep cycles of Alzheimer’s patients through the circadian system than exposure to other colors and even to much brighter white light."
At the Albany County Nursing Home, Mariana Figuerio has put these finding to use. She designed a table-like lamp with the bluish light for her senior patients to sit at during the day. Residents of the nursing home who sat by the light became calm and happier, when before they were very irritable. Some of the patients that once wandered the halls at night remain in their unit throughout the night. Their circadian rhythms improved because of the light. This research can be a great tool in what kind of lighting to install in different areas. Figerio says, "I think that ideally what we want to do is to be able to replace the lighting, the entire lighting in the space because then everybody can get the benefit of having that kind of lights. What I hope we can accomplish is show people that it works, and be able to now translate that to architects, to people doing the building, so that when they designed the building from start they do it right."
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