The lights in your home or business can do much more than just light up your space. We rely on lights to brighten our homes, offices, and public spaces. But you are probably not aware that energy efficient LED lights can also have positive health impacts for patients in hospitals and long-term care homes.

What are LED lights

The "LED" in LED lights stands for Light Emitting Diode. The diodes are tiny electric modules made of semiconductor material. When turned on, an electrical current passes through a microchip, which illuminates the tiny light sources we call LEDs and the result is light.

Why LED lights?

LED light technology has evolved rapidly in recent years. LED lights can save your business money, improve the comfort in homes and buildings, and help to protect the environment. Properly designed LED lights can also help improve the health of our loved ones in hospitals and long-term care homes.

A key difference when it comes to lighting is how the light is reflected. A fluorescent or metal halide bulb produces light in all directions, much like the sun with rays everywhere. LEDs however produce light directionally and focused like a laser beam. There is less light loss because the light being produced reaches the target as intended instead of being directed elsewhere. LED lights can also have controls and adjustable features that allow you to manually dim or increase the light levels with a dimmer, and advanced controls like daylight sensors, vacancy sensors, timers, and photocells. These can all be networked to run on a schedule which saves you energy and money.

LED lights for healing

Over the coming years we can expect to see the number of senior citizens in New Brunswick increase. This will continue to result in more seniors in hospitals and long-term care homes.

Elderly individuals are more likely to face a range of health issues and diseases that may leave them confined to a bed or small room. LED lights are just one measure that can contribute to improved comfort and wellbeing in healthcare settings.

Have you ever stayed overnight in a hospital to have a bright light turned on in the night so the nurses could check your vitals? Bright fluorescent lights can lead to sleep disruptions and for patients that are on their backs all day, this can lead to negative health impacts. 

LED lights can be less harsh and at night this is important to allow doctors and nurses to do their jobs but not disrupt patients. In this situation the light can be focused directly on medical equipment instead of the patient. Indirect light shines upwards and provides gentle illumination in the room while a direct LED source light focusing onto the patient bed or examination table or area when needed can easily be achieved. Patients benefit from indirect lighting as it is much easier on their eyes, causing less strain and potential headaches. Proper lighting affects the sleep and mood of patients which can help their healing process.

In long-term care homes proper lighting can play a big impact on the health of seniors. Lighting can help with vison loss and nightlights can enhance safety and reduce the risk of falls. For dementia and Alzheimer’s patients who often forget what time of day it is, LED lights can mimic natural daylight and change colour throughout the day. For an elderly patient who is confined to their room this can be very comforting.

Circadian rhythm is a natural internal 24-hour clock that regulates our sleep and awake cycle and is creates melatonin to trigger sleep and energy cycles. Proper LED lights and shades can help improve sleep quality and mood for those patients who are unable get outside. For example, in the morning, lights can automatically adjust to be warmer, (amber color) when you first wake up to mimic dawn and then as the day progresses adjust to a cooler light, (bluer) to mimic natural daylight and then return to a warm, (amber) light once the sun sets and evening occurs. In doing this the circadian system is less likely to be disrupted and the resident will have a better sleep.

LED lights and their energy efficient technology are changing the way we live. To understand more look at this video from Esakaton Seniors to learn how they are enhancing the quality of life for their residents.

NB Power offers incentives for lighting upgrades. Visit SaveEnergyNB to learn more about energy efficiency programs in New Brunswick.