White Paper: The Role of Healthy LED Lighting in Healthcare Settings


by | Jun 7, 2019 | Blog

The Challenge

Hospital lighting offers diverse challenges; a one size fits all approach to LED lighting retrofits can lead to ineffectiveness in all areas.  Considering the specific lighting requirements of all functional areas prior to selection can improve process efficiency and patient well-being.

Patient recovery rooms provide one of the more complex challenges. Critical patient resting and sleep requirements are dependent on each patient’s situation. Unfortunately, most white LED based lighting products have a very limited ability to produce the blue and green color content necessary to maintain a healthy circadian rhythm.

A healthy circadian rhythm relies on exposure to light during the daytime to maintain alertness and relies on darkness to encourage the production of melatonin contributing to a healthy night’s sleep.  Exposure to most LED lighting at night is detrimental because it can suppress melatonin production resulting in sleep disruption.  Even dimming most white LED lighting products at night may have very little impact on its color output.  The body’s response to that lighting can lead to a suppression of melatonin production.  Without sufficient melatonin production, patients may be deprived of the quality and quantity of sleep their bodies require for recovery.


The melanopic to photopic lux ratio (M/P ratio) is a generally accepted method to quantify the intensity of the non-image forming wavelengths of light that impacts the body’s circadian rhythm and melatonin production.  Ideal daytime M/P ratios are above 0.9 (like natural daylight) to suppress melatonin production and 0.3 or less at night to support melatonin production and promote sleep.

Current single channel LEDs can be dimmed to decrease intensity but this does not necessarily impact the M/P ratio.  Therefore, even dimmed exposure to blue enriched light before bedtime can suppress the release of sleep-inducing melatonin, reset the body’s internal clock to a later schedule, and negatively impact sleep quality that a patient may need.

The Solution

Multi-color LED lighting systems can generate a tunable full spectrum with a wide M/P ratio range by adjusting the light intensity of each color independently using a multi-channel controller.  However, transitioning to a multi-color solution involves trade-offs in other areas.  The complexity in LED die sourcing and assembly, color mixing optics, and LED control circuitry may lead to prohibitively higher installation and energy costs. Only Aurea Lighting can combine single channel simplicity, efficiency, and reliability for a truly human-centric biofriendly solution.

Aurea Lighting can provide a tailored lighting spectrum and provide energetic blues and greens for daytime and significantly lower M/P ratios for the evening that encourage a more restful and healthy night’s sleep.  Planning patient recovery room lighting can create a relaxed and restful space which may lead to a more effective and timely recovery, without sacrificing energy efficiency.

Aurea Lighting is a pioneer in creating highly efficient, healthy LED lighting. This patented technology doesn’t filter light like other solutions – it converts traditional high efficiency blue LED light into a light that is in sync with our body’s biological needs, while maintaining high efficiency and light quality. Aurea’s lighting solutions can be used in commercial, educational, health care, and horticultural settings to improve worker productivity, student alertness, patient outcome, and plant yields.

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