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The 1% club…

A phrase inspired by the celebrated approach of British Olympic cycling team coach Steve Brailsford. He analysed every element of the race to find marginal improvements that add up overall to a big win. That approach can be applied to lighting too.
The basic principles of a healthy diet of light are not rocket science: get outside for at least an every day, ideally the bulk of that in the morning, sit as close to the window as you can and boost with bright lights without  glare, power down to a softer light (and switch off social media / emails for around two hours before bed – then make sure your room is dark at night. And yet this study suggests we’ve got a long way to go before most of us hit that baseline – Personal lighting conditions of office workers: An exploratory field study
Once you’ve got that baseline in the bag, you may decide you want to go the extra mile. That means investing in the equivalent of pro sports kit for when you really want to be on that podium. Full spectrum lighting is more expensive but it might just make the difference In a Clinical Trial, Daytime Exposure to Short-Wavelength Enriched Light with Daylight-like Spectrum Improves Learning and Memory Function and Study on the perception of full spectrum LEDs
How can you work out which upgrade is worth your hard-earned cash?
Lighting research is famously patchy  – small sample sizes, short time frames, inconsistent measurement and lack of control over variables – a double-blind test about the effect of bright light?! And the fact that millions of data points that prove that absolutely nothing happened at all are all too often airbrushed out of the literature. And yet there are patterns that are worth looking at – if only the enduring power of the placebo effect: provide a supportive, uplifting and respectful space and we will respond in kind.

It’s a privilege to be curating this conversation with the SLL about how the lighting industry can create robust, transparent research that delivers information that is relevant to the people who make decisions about what lights to buy – which will in turn drive the decisions about what lights to make  Agile lighting research – bridging the gap between theory and practice

One way we can track the impact of lighting is in situations where changes in behaviour are immediate – and sometimes destructive.
This article suggests that casinos with dim ambient lighting and machines that are screened off to create a sense of privacy encourage their clients to stay longer and spend more – Hidden in the Dark: Dim Ambient Lighting Increases Game Play Duration and Total Spend. This builds on plenty of other work that shows that we consume more calories when the lights are off too. 
Ultimately the only evidence we really believe is when we see something with our own eyes.  Just as with an upgrade to your diet or your sports kit- perhaps even splashing out on a dry robe!, some of the effects will be immediate. Others will become apparent over weeks, months or even years. We are nowhere near untangling the chemistry of the ‘feel good’ factor. But, as Steve’s gold medals suggest, taking care of yourself and those you love will help you to go the extra mile.

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