namic light. Basically speaking, this means bringing daylight in-doors and using artificial light with a high blue content to supple-ment it to meet our needs during the day. This should help us work more safely and efficiently and improveour concentration for learning. In hospitals and nursing homes,dynamic lighting will support the sleep/wake cycle and promotehealing processes and a sense of wellbeing. In the evening andat night, on the other hand, light with a low blue content will helpreduce sick rates, e.g. among shift workers, and lessen sleepproblems generally. The issue of light and health is a fascinating one. And the discov-ery of the third photoreceptor gives it a new dynamism: chrono-biologists, lighting manufacturers and architects now have thechance to pool their efforts and substantially improve our qualityof life. licht.wissen 19 is a contribution to this..
Dr. Dieter Kunz, Department of Sleep Medicine, St. Hedwig’s Hospital, BerlinInstitute of Physiology, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, CBF
Light and dark, hot and cold or the cyclical change of the sea-sons: the rotation and inclination of the Earth give rise to con-stantly recurring changes that, in the course of evolution, haveresulted in human beings developing a circadian system – asystem of internal clocks that anticipate such changes. Like thecomplex movement of a clock, it controls and coordinates the24-hour variation of all bodily functions. Disrupting it can have avariety of negative effects, producing symptoms of disorderssuch as depression or immune disease.Scientists have been studying the biological impacts of light per-ceived by the human eye since as long ago as the 1980s. But itwas not until 2002 that they discovered ganglion cells in theretina of mammals that are not used for “seeing”. The newlyidentified cells respond most sensitively to visible blue light andset the “master clock” that synchronises the system of internalclocks with the external cycle of day and night. This booklet provides a practical and user-oriented summary of what science knows today about the non-visual impact of lighton human beings. It is not a final, authoritative work but an ambi-tious attempt to describe the nascent, fast-growing field of re-search examining light, health and efficiency.Chronobiology will transform our daily lives in the future. Onegoal is to strengthen the circadian system by harnessing dy-