Circadian lighting helps nurses smoothly through night duties

A new Danish pilot study shows that night nurses, who have been exposed to circadian lighting, are more rested and able to revert to their circadian rhythm after night duties. It has a positive effect on the working environment as well as health.

Over time, it is common known that night duties can be damaging for health and the social life. One exposed group is the night nurses.

- Studies show, it is common that it takes at least four days to change the circadian rhythm after night duties, Leanne Langhorn, Clinical Nurse Specialist & Ph.D at Aarhus University Hospital, says.

At most hospitals, the light- and noise level are constant during day and night. Even at night, where the body needs to be in darkness and have a rest. Studies show that wrong lighting during the night can provoke stress and reduce well-being. By that, Aarhus University Hospital and Copenhagen University Hospital stroked up a collaboration with the lighting company, Chromaviso, to examine if a customized and unique circadian lighting, that follows the order of the day, can help nurses smoothly through night duties.

- A consistent lighting during a 24-hour day can have negative consequences for the staff, who is working in shift. They experience challenges with keeping their circadian rhythm, waking state, cognitive ability, mood, and their attention deteriorates, Leanne Langhorn says.

Circadian lightning increases well-being

The effect of the circadian lighting has been examined during a pilot study, respectively at Aarhus University Hospital and Copenhagen University Hospital as well as at a control department with normal lighting. The staff has recorded diaries and completed questionnaires regarding their sleep pattern, job, and well-being. The results are positive.

- The tendency is that nurses, who have been exposed to circadian lighting, in general experience better sleep as they easily fall asleep and their sleep quality is much better. In general, they experience they wake up easily in the morning and feel well-rested three days after – hold together with the beforehand minimum of four days - with the circadian lighting compared to the control group, Leanne Langhorn says.

Additionally, the circadian lighting has had a positive effect on the working environment.

- The circadian lighting ensures a balance regarding the body’s circadian rhythm and the staff’s need for lighting during work. It is a holistic solution, which contributes to both the staff’s working environment, well-being, and health. Additional studies with a greater amount of nurse respondents and during a longer time of period should be collected to strengthen the current evidences as well as examine more aspects, Leanne Langhorn says.

Read more about Chromaviso’s circadian lighting 

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Chromaviso is a member of Welfare Tech

Foto: Chromaviso


Ane Søby Eskildsen

Brand- and Communications Manager


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