An accessory, as the definition goes, is a thing which can be added to something else in order to make it more useful, versatile, or attractive.
Ask any woman about accessories and she will probably tell you all about how important they are in her life—necklaces, bracelets, watches, sashes, shawls, scarves, socks, pins, piercings, rings, and stockings... anything that can make her feel more attractive or look trendy. Not exclusive to women, men aren’t to be forgotten in their affinity for accessories, either! Watches, shoes, after-shave lotions, colognes, ties, and even the right color and pattern of socks are all accessories that help men to feel better about themselves, as well.
Today, accessories pervade all spheres, like mobile phone accessories, computer accessories, and car accessories. A little bit of attention paid to accessories does well to enhance the total user experience of an item, and can even make that item more functional, as well as attractive.
When it comes to lighting, let’s take a look at how accessories can add more value and subtly make illumination an enlightening experience!
(See what I did there? Pun intended.)
LIGHT BULB MOMENT
Bioluminescence, the biochemical emission of light by a living organism - like eels, fireflies, and glowworms, has been discovered in humans. Wait, what?
In Japan, researchers have been able to prove the existence of bioluminescence in humans through a series of images taken using cryogenic charge-coupled device, a highly sensitive imaging system. Through this, they discovered that the human body emits light both directly and rhythmically.
The intensity of the light emitted is about 1000x lower than what is detectable by the naked eye and is constantly changing based on the time of day. For example, we shine brightest in the middle of the day, and dim toward the evening. This is tracked through ultraweak photon emissions released in the form of light through changes in energy metabolism within the body.
Researchers also found something quite intriguing with this discovery in that our bioluminescence does not correspond to the amount of heat we naturally generate. Thermal imaging taken shows a wholly different visual result to that of the highly sensitive cameras used to capture our bioluminescence on film. This goes to show how much more interesting life can get if we are willing to keep digging!
DID YOU KNOW?
Blue light can kill you.
Well, not directly. Blue light interrupts the human body’s ability to produce melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone that allows you to drift off and stay asleep throughout the night. This is an issue because of how heavily reliant we have become on technology that constantly gives us a steady dose of this blue light directly into our retinas, day in and day out. This causes sleep deprivation, irritability, memory deficits, impairment, delayed responses, and in some cases can cause debilitating insomnia - which if severe enough can cause you to go bonkers and can impact your health in such serious ways (anxiety, rapid mood swings, difficulty staying alert, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and exacerbation or onset of mental illness, to name a few) that it could bring on an early demise.
Blue light is an issue for melatonin production because it has a short wavelength that affects melatonin much more than light with any other wavelength does. Melatonin production begins a couple of hours before bedtime, reaching its peak in the middle of the night. The use of electronic devices or watching TV before bedtime can impact your body’s natural ability to release this melatonin, resulting in prolonged alertness and resetting your circadian rhythm (your internal clock) to a new schedule, and preventing you from experiencing REM sleep. Make a habit of consuming technology emitted from screens that produce blue light, like your cell phone or reading from a tablet in place of a printed book, and your rhythm could get so out of whack that you physically cannot fall asleep without assistance. Blue light from LEDs and fluorescents can cause this phenomenon in the human body, as well. It’s a vicious cycle that affects people of all ages and demographics, but is especially harmful for children and teens.
To combat this, opt for turning off devices and TVs at least an hour before bedtime each night. If that isn’t possible, try turning down the brightness on the screen or enable color settings to reflect warmer tones. Equally important is to avoid blue LEDs in nightlights, instead using dimmer red lights for these, as red light has a longer wavelength that does not interfere with melatonin production. Who knew that a few simple lighting changes could have such a huge impact on your quality of life? Sweet dreams!