The power of light to change your world for good
Light Notes banner

Student halls, light meters and boosting sleep with pink noise

Small but perfectly formed?

According to Statista, the average student room is 13.4 square meters and a luxurious 20.6 meters if you include an en-suite bathroom – Average room size of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) en-suite and studios in the United Kingdom (UK) in 2019/2020, by location

Getting the lights right might just help your kids to settle into the new term and their new tiny home from home.

New research suggests that the organisation of the light in the space can make a big difference visual appeal and visual load, which are key to how relaxing or ‘restorative’ you will find a space to be. Eye-tracking studies show fewer eye movements when viewing natural environments, attributed to an optimal balance of light and dark tones in the scene, particularly on the vertical plane – Improving the Restorative Potential of Living Environments by Optimizing the Spatial Luminance Distribution. This work suggests simple things you can do to help your student settle into their new space, however small it may be:

1.  Natural high – Arrange their furniture to make the most of any windows or skylights for natural light and views f the room layout allows. Add sheer curtains on a simple retrofit track to cut out glare when the sun is low in the sky.

2.  Organise – A simple unit with drawers will help them to keep  their desk organized and clutter-free – and allow space for a desk lamp. An anti-reflection screen covering will also help them focus and reduce painful digital eye strain.  Add clip-on lights to a shelf full of plants or favourite things will create fresh perspectives and remind them of happy times when they’re feeling the pressure

3.  Wind down –  Gentle lighting – or even a simple string of fairy lights can encourage them to switch off and wind down with friends.  Feeling pride in their space, however small, is the single biggest factor in how happy they will feel there.  The GoodHome Report 2019 What makes a happy home?

4. Darkness – check the curtains or blinds will allow them to get the sleep they need.  Encourage them to use an eye mask if you can’t fit black-out blinds or curtains. Plug-in night lights can help them to cope with anxiety if they’re afraid of the dark in an unfamiliar place.

5.  Rise and shine – Consider investing in a dawn simulator lamp  – the gentle wake-up call can help them to start the day refreshed and relaxed.

Investing in some lights, anti-glare coverings and curtains – and a kettle for us Brits of course! is probably the cheapest and simplest thing you can do to help them to feel at home. 


So how much light are you getting – and how much do you need?

Working from home today?

You don’t even have the commute to get you outside – plus it’s hammering with rain!

So how much light are you getting – and how much do you need?

Download a simple free light meter app for your phone – it’s not scientific but it will give you a rough idea. Hold it next to your eye so it’s seeing what you’re seeing – you’ll be amazed what a difference it makes as you move away from the window.

How much do you need?

Current guidance is at least 250 melanopic lux – that’s around 500 lux of standard domestic lighting – for at least two hours ideally in the morning.

Once you use your light metre, you’ll see where you need to sit to get the light you need to keep you healthy and happy – even if you’re working all day from home.

Hope that helps –


Sleep and Circadian Rhythm seminars

So grateful for the inspiration from the Sleep and Circadian Rhythm seminars – what an amazing line-up. Next week’s session by Angelina Maric will be absolutely fascinating. She’ll be talking about an amazing new field of sleep research. Scientists have been using short bursts (50 ms) of the wonderfully-named ‘pink noise stimuli’ (∼50 dB SPL – the loudness of a home or library) locked to the phase of slow waves in sleep to increase the strength of the slow brain wave activity – a key marker of recovery during sleep. Now it seems that this approach can actually speed up that process too. Tune in – but do try to stay awake! Register here

Get in touch!