Photo courtesy of Anna Dabrowska/The Licensing Project
How Color and Light Affect Mood, Productivity, and Sleep
How Color and Light Affect Mood, Productivity, and Sleep
Why does it feel good to look up into a blue sky? The answer involves light receptors that you may never have heard of, mood centers in the brain, and your body’s own opioids being produced in the skin. The scientists who designed BIOS’s stunning SkyView lamp took all of this into account when choosing the best wavelengths of light to use for the lamp’s sunrise, daytime, sunset, and nighttime settings.
Having enough light during the day—especially sky-blue and violet light—supports productivity, focus, alertness, eye comfort, and mood. Feel-good, energizing sky-blue light is desirable during the day to support the “on” part of our circadian cycle. The evening is when you want to cut out blue light to transition to the “rest” part of the cycle.
The light from typical fixtures and screens in our offices and homes doesn’t change over the course of the day, meaning that we may be exposed to lighting that’s suboptimal for productivity during the day and not great for helping us sleep at night. The SkyView lamp cycles—manually or automatically—through four tailored programs designed to work sequentially to help achieve productivity and energy during the daytime, followed by a good night’s sleep.
The lamp is two-toned, so that during the day, sky-blue light comes from the upper half of the globe, entering your eyes as blue light from the sky above would. The gorgeous large globe is made with handblown glass, and the base is solid billet aluminum.
How and where to use: Best practice is to have this lamp where you spend the majority of your time (usually at your desk). Additional benefits can be had from placing a second one at your bedside to take advantage of its beautiful sunrise, designed to help you wake up refreshed and alert.
We’ve all heard that light hits rods and cones in the eyes and generates images. But light also hits receptors in the eyes called melanopsins that don’t have anything to do with vision. The SkyView daytime spectrum uses sky-blue wavelengths of light designed to enter the eyes, activate these receptors, and directly impact a mood-regulating center in the brain. The lamp also uses violet light intended to amplify this effect.
Seemingly even more outrageous, sky-blue light also activates receptors in the skin generating beta-endorphin, an opioid that reduces pain and is associated with pleasure. Ultraviolet light does this, too. By generating beta-endorphin, regular exposure to sunlight could make you develop tolerance and become dependent. If you’ve ever craved a tanning bed or a beach vacation, now you may be able to explain why. Preclinical research supports the theory that people may become addicted to sunlight because it makes them feel less pain.
To target mood in another way, goop makes a powerful supplement called DTF. DTF contains a clinically studied dose of saffron, backed by a meta-analysis of studies on mood. It also contains additional support for libido: In clinical studies, the fenugreek extract in DTF has been shown to support healthy sexual arousal, desire, and menopausal comfort. And a latte mix with coconut milk powder is a delicious way to get a little more saffron.*
There’s a major productivity benefit to the daytime wavelengths in the SkyView lamp. Blue light and violet light in the morning and during the day help us with alertness, focus, and performance. In one study, students were better able to concentrate and their brains processed information more quickly when they were exposed to light enriched with blue wavelengths compared to standard light. And they scored better on measures of alertness, mood, evening fatigue, irritability, and eye discomfort.
Opting for sunlight instead? Great choice, but don’t forget to stop before your skin is damaged, covering up before your skin becomes hot, sensitive, itchy, or red. Protect your face and the backs of your hands with a lightweight mineral sunscreen with rose hip oil.
For a multipronged approach to calm focus, add in the café au lait–flavored soft chew we call Nerd Alert. The serving size is two, with a research-backed combination of caffeine balanced with L-theanine, but some of us find one is just right. We also love Sweet Clarity tea, which combines energizing rhodiola and orange peel with soothing tulsi (holy basil).*
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On the other hand, transitioning away from activity to rest happens naturally when the sun goes down. Reducing exposure to blue light in the evening can improve your quality of sleep with benefits for mood, productivity, immunity, and many other aspects of health. The SkyView lamp’s wavelengths are optimized to support a healthy circadian rhythm with productivity during the day and sleep at night. To filter out blue light from other sources—such as screens—in the evening, Felix Gray makes some cute nonprescription glasses.
A favorite sleep aid among goop staff and shoppers, Knock Me Out is a chocolate-mint-flavored chew with melatonin to support a healthy circadian rhythm. You can start with one half or one chew and work up to two as desired. It’s fun to try the Chews Variety Pack that comes with Knock Me Out, Nerd Alert (see “focus” above), and immune-supporting, blackberry-flavored Perfect Attendance.*
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There is no bad time to meditate. In the evening, meditation can help calm anxious thoughts and ease you into a restful night. Whatever the time of day, the BEL candle brings a beautiful ritual to your meditation session. Place a solid brass pin in the palo-santo-sage-and-lavender-scented candle and when your session is complete the pin will drop from the melting wax into the candleholder.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.