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[2019/11/18] Research by the NYMU School of Nursing: Smart Lighting Can Improve Sleep Quality

The official opening ceremony of the National Yang-Ming University Smart Lighting Laboratory


The NYMU School of Nursing and Nan Ya Photonics Inc. have established a Smart Lighting Laboratory that will explore the potential of applying different light spectra and various levels of illuminance to medical problems. Preliminary results have shown that, after the elderly have access to smart lighting, their sleeping quality increases by 20% (time from lying down to falling asleep divided by their sleeping time) and their insomnia is reduced.


Recent research has shown that light in various forms is related to a number of different aspects of human health, including myopia, obesity, depression, delirium, breast cancer, and others. Many elderly have problems involving shallow sleep at night and insomnia. The NYMU School of Nursing discovered that, when smart lighting is available, an individual's total of sleep time can be increased from 5 hours 28 minutes to 7 hours 13 minutes, while at the same time the number of waking up events at night can be reduced from 5.8 to 4.9. This means that over a week the subjects' total time awake during the night is reduced from 3 hours 55 minutes to 2 hours 23 minutes, which means there is a great improvement in overall sleep quality


Research Director Dean Liu


The research director at NYMU School of Nursing, Dean Liu, remarked that since the elderly spend a lot time indoors, they tend to lack a normal perception of day and night; they also tend to sleep a lot during the day and often cannot fall asleep at night. This research was able to simulate changes in natural light using smart lighting with the aim of maintaining a regular sleep cycle. Due to the fact that light levels control the secretion of melatonin, if sufficient light is provided during the day, melatonin will be decreased and this will allow more activity during the day. Such changes are important to the regulation of body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and endocrine hormone levels.


Dean Liu remarked that there are many light research centers abroad, yet interventions involving light are still controversial in terms of their dosage, frequency, intensity, timing, wave length and color temperature. For different purposes, different prescriptions are given. NYMU School of Nursing is grateful to Nan Ya Photonics Inc. for assisting in the establishment of the Smart Light Laboratory and the next step will be to carry out more accurate analyses of how light therapy is useful to clinical care.



 The NYMU Smart Light Laboratory is able to adjust a range of factors, including wave length, intensity and color temperature, in order to determine the best environment during research on light's effects on human physiology


NYMU and Nan Ya Photonics Inc. established the Smart Light Laboratory in such a way that a number of different factors can be adjusted in the laboratory, including wave length, intensity and color temperature; the aim being to create the best environment for research on light’s effect on human physiology. Generally, people who sleep late and wake up late are able to use morning light to adjust their circadian clock forward, while people who sleep early and wake up early are able to use extended lighting at night to push back their circadian clock. However, clinical light therapy has not been researched in much depth and still requires the collection of better appropriate evidence that will allows professional recommendations to be made.


Dean Liu remarked that this research has shown the importance of light to the elderly and that, although smart lighting is able to be used at home to adjust human physiology, it is still recommended that individuals need to go out into natural light, this is because smart lighting is just a stimulation of natural light after all.