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Welcome back – 2023 is going to be brilliant!

Loads of exciting projects and events in the pipeline.

First up – Tuesday 7th of March online from 3-5pm UK time – an online debate about the science and real world effects of circadian lighting for people living with dementia. I’m so chuffed to host luminaries including Professor Russell Foster’s opening remarks, Professor Shadab Rahman talking about his recent work on falls, Professor Elisabeth Flo-Groeneboom on mood and memory and Professor Stuart Peirson about the challenges of benchmarking in this complex setting. We’ll also hear from three inspiring Residential Care Home managers from the USA, Denmark, and the UK. Please register here.

And here is a crop of topical stories while you put the kettle on – 

Is ‘Drink less’ one of your resolutions? Serve alcohol in straight-sided glasses – the pursed-lip embouchure makes us take smaller sips than a wide ‘martini-glass’ style – Glass shape influences drinking behaviours in three laboratory experiments 

The 3rd of January was the The Festival of Sleep Day. Time to switch off the computer and reflect on the day – and encourage your loved ones to do the same – reviewing the events of the day can help you to remember more – Neural reactivation in parietal cortex enhances memory for episodically linked information.  Thinking about an experience can even help you to retrieve information you thought you had forgotten! – Selective memory retrieval can revive forgotten memories

Ready to quit? – After a break, January is traditionally the month when most people quit –  around one in five employees say they’re looking for a new job – January the ‘most popular month for job changes’ by HR magazine The current economic outlook may encourage caution and reduce the desire to hand in your notice. But how your office makes you feel when you walk back into your office after a break can be the perfect catalyst for a reset. Gloomy weather means that we are even more acutely sensitive to how bright and welcoming a space appears than usual. This article points out that 32% of workers say that better lighting would make them feel happier at work. – How Does Lighting Affect Mental Health In The Workplace by Forbes 
This paper explains that personal beliefs about the quality of the indoor environmental quality shapes perceived productivity. Interestingly, access to light switches were the single most important factor in providing a sense of control – The impacts of building characteristics, social psychological and cultural factors on indoor environment quality productivity belief by Elsevier

I’ve moved and setting up my office from home –  and looking at the lights of course! Here are five things that are top of my list…

1/ Set your desk at right angles to the window – you’ll get the best view without the glare or shadow – and have more options for shading when the sun finally shows up again 

2/ Bright cool overhead light to keep you awake. A pendant with a bright lightbulb and a shade that bounces most of the light up to the ceiling will create a sky dome effect – and reduce the shine on a receding hairline in video calls! 

3/ Light-coloured and silky desk surface, ceiling and walls will deliver more ‘wow’ per watt – increase perceived brightness by up to 20%. 

4/ Desk lamps that you can angle to suit the task – ideally one on each side to create a balanced look on zoom. The classic angle poise is still the most stylish and sustainable option. My set-up combines this with a dimmable and colour changing lamp that gives more control. 

5/ A timer set to 20 minutes so that you give your eyes a breather – you blink around half as often when looking at a screen, making computer vision and ‘dry eye’ issues worse. Look up to a corner of the room for 20 seconds every 20 minutes to reduce eye strain and headaches. 20 minutes is the optimal period for your brain to focus too. Paradoxically, taking short breaks every 20 minutes can help you to be more productive. Just make sure that the biscuit tin is out of reach!

And finally… Do fish need sleep?

Yes! This blog explains that fish have body clocks just like us and need to switch off too – For more details, check out this Frontiers review – Environmental Cycles, Melatonin, and Circadian Control of Stress Response in Fish Red wavelengths are filtered out by water so blue wavelengths deliver the strongest wake-up signal – just as it does for us. Artificial light after dark is dangerous for them too – this fascinating piece explains how light pollution leads to more risky behaviour, potentially triggered by a stress response – Light Pollution Causes Risky Behavior In Fish


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