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As we age, our eyesight changes dramatically, resulting in reduced visual acuity and colour discrimination and a slowing in the rate at which our eyes adapt to changing light levels and contrast. Studies have shown that these changes can lead to disrupted circadian cycles and sleep patterns if not addressed by the lighting design in care environments for older adults and those living with dementia. 

Light is the most potent external synchronisation stimulus for the human circadian cycleWithout the right colour and intensity level of light at the right times of day, the human circadian system weakens and production of hormones critical to the sleep-wake cycle is affected. Disrupted human circadian rhythms cause negative health & wellbeing impacts, whereas supported human circadian rhythms with circadian lighting systems are proven to improve the wellbeing of older adults and people living with dementia. 

Why is circadian lighting so important?

Disrupted circadian rhythms become more acute as we age & can be heightened in those living with dementia. Levels of critical hormones, e.g., cortisol & melatonin can be affected, impacting immune systems & sleep/wake cycles.

Daytime alertness levels and mood can be improved through supporting better sleep/wake cycles. This has been shown to reduce agitation and depression in older adults and benefit this living with dementia by also alleviating sundowning.

Circadian disruption & lighting not tuned for the ageing eye contribute to causes of falls in older adults. Studies have also shown that there is a causal link between the incidence of falls & disrupted circadian rhythms in older adults. 

Recently, a 2-year study in the US using a similar lighting approach showed a reduction on falls of 43% compared with conventional senior living lighting, and a research project by Newcastle University on behalf of Circadacare highlighted that light during the day should be bright enough to ensure good vision, contain enough melanopic lux to ensure good sleep/wake cycles and sleep quality, but low enough in very short wavelength power to guard against further eye damage. 

Circadacare systems are designed in accordance with the scientific evidence in order to deliver the optimum lighting environment for older adult care

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