Light, Sleep, Alertness and Performance

  • Wout van Bommel


A classical sleep model is based on an interaction of two different processes. A homeostatic one is characterised by increasing and decreasing sleep pressure after waking up and while asleep, respectively. The other process is a circadian one which provides the possibility to sleep: the sleep window. Light and darkness at the appropriate times strongly influence the latter process. Daytime light influences sleep possibility during the night. Here, both the level and the spectrum of light play a role. Cooler white light is more effective than warmer white light. Sleep quality during the night, of course, also influences alertness and performance during the subsequent day. On top of this effect on alertness and performance, there is also a direct photobiological effect of light on alertness and performance. A sufficient high light level for this second route towards alertness and performance is essential. There are contradictory research results on the role of the spectrum in this respect. On the basis of the research discussed in this chapter, a dynamic lighting scenario for daytime workplaces is proposed which dynamically changes both the lighting level and colour. It optimises between energy requirements on the one hand and requirements of visual and non-visual effects of lighting on the other hand.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wout van Bommel
    • 1
  1. 1.Van Bommel Lighting ConsultantNuenenThe Netherlands

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