Does a daylight lamp help with poor sleep and gloomy thoughts? A light specialist and chronobiologist went in search of the answer with the '30 day good light experience'. Set up by the non-profit Good Light Group to make people aware of the power of sufficient daylight, but also of the dangers of too little daylight. Jeroen Kreule, journalist with the Algemeen Dagblad, was one of the participants who described his experiences with various daylight lamps, including those of Sparckel. His conclusion after four weeks: "No more in-between naps behind the laptop, happier and less irritated. That is the effect of four weeks of Sparckel.
Jeroen Kreule kept track of his experiences and wrote this article about it in the Algemeen Dagblad.
Since the end of January, there has been a lamp on my dining table cum desk. It is the Jolly James, by Sparckel. It's not a cheap lamp: it costs around 1800 euros. The lamp mimics daylight, says Jan Denneman (66), founder of the Good Light Group, a foundation with the mission to raise awareness of the positive effects of good light on the body and mind.
He wants to know whether the lamp helps people to go through life more cheerfully. Do you sleep better? What does it do to your vitality and mood? An extensive questionnaire has to be filled in before and after. Denneman: "We want to map out the personal experiences of the participants. Dozens of people are taking part in the study. I am one of them.
We desperately need daylight to synchronise our biological clock
The lamp is positioned exactly half a metre from my laptop, so there is enough light in the eye while I am working. The light is bright, but you quickly get used to it. According to Denneman's instructions, I let the lamp shine for at least four hours a day; at the end of the working day the lamp automatically switches to evening light.
The effect? I can count on one hand the number of times in the last four weeks that I woke up in the middle of the night. If I did, I just turned over and went back to sleep almost immediately. We desperately need daylight to synchronise our biological clock,' says Denneman.
Numerous studies show that good light is just as important as healthy food and healthy air. You sleep better, you work more concentrated, it makes you more energetic, happier and healthier. I have experienced it all over the past four weeks. No more in-between naps behind the laptop, happier, less irritated. The lamp has an addictive effect and became part of the morning ritual: coffee, switch on the lamp, shower.
Place your desk and couch by the window so that you can see outside, or buy good lighting
If you do not get any daylight for a day, your biological clock lags behind by an average of ten to fifteen minutes. If you stay inside for a week, you are one and a half hours behind, comparable to a jet lag. Denneman: "Since the industrial revolution, we have spent much more time indoors, so that our biorhythms are easily out of sync.
Try to catch as much pure daylight as possible, is his advice. Preferably in the morning, around half past nine. Every half hour is a bonus. If that's not possible, stand as close to the window as possible if you have to make a phone call. Put your desk and your couch by the window so that you can see outside, or buy good lighting.
Maarten Voorhuis (45) designed the Sparckel out of frustration and amazement. My grandfather suffered from dementia and as a child, I saw that - like his peers - he hardly ever went outside. Later, I read that there are strong scientific indications that sufficient daylight can help with functional limitations of dementia. Since then, I have been fascinated by the effect of healthy light. I developed a lamp that rivals the power of natural daylight''.
The lamp contains six LED groups with 196 LED lights. A pre-programmed clock regulates when the LEDs should emit which light: white light at the start of a working day, activating cold white light during the day and warm dimmed light at the end of the working day.
A good night's sleep makes you feel fitter during the day, your mood is better and you can avoid slipping into a slump with it.
In cooperation with Tilburg University and GGZ Eindhoven, the lamp was tested in a nursing home with people suffering from dementia. The result: the average number of daytime naps was more than halved, as was the number of nocturnal wanderings. And those who had spent a few hours under a Sparckel during the day slept 87 minutes longer that night.
The fact that I also sleep better is therefore not surprising to Voorhuis. Yet he wants to emphasise that this does not have to be due to the lamp alone, because sleep problems are complex. But the lamp can have an influence''.
Denneman is satisfied with the result. A good night's sleep makes you feel fitter during the day, your mood is better and you can prevent a dip. And for that you need: healthy air, healthy food, and light!