FUTURE Designs welcomed the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management to its Clerkenwell showroom for the first time.

Led by FUTURE Designs consultant sleep expert, Dr Neil Stanley, the talk gave an entertaining insight into how workplace lighting can impact on sleep and other areas of wellbeing, such as anxiety, stress and depression.

Dr Neil Stanley said ”If light is, as Prof. Czeisler and others have said, a drug then surely one must ask the question, do you really want your workforce to be on drugs. The claimed benefits of human centric lighting could just as easily be achieved by giving your workforce an amphetamine in the morning, cannabis in the afternoon, an antidepressant, an anxiolytic and a sleeping pill at night. Such a suggestion is clearly nonsensical. If we are to think of light as a drug then there are certain things that we should know about it, dose, timing, formulation and side effects, the problem is that at the moment the science is not that advanced enough to support the claims of Human-Centric lighting. Indeed, I would question whether we should be manipulating people in such a way in the first place, the promises of HCL, seem to me to be dystopian rather than utopian. The use of the word ‘circadian’ seems to be applied to anything without regard to the meaning of the word or the fact that there are shorter ‘ultradian’ rhythms which are just as important, the effect of HCL on which are completely unknown. Give our different innate chronotypes and the wide variation in our circadian and ultradian rhythms there can be no ‘one size fits all’ approach to lighting. Perhaps we should be thinking about using tuneable light more like a small amount of alcohol, rather than a powerful drug with a dose of 2700K or 6500K, something that induces a sense of well-being, reduced stress and reduced fatigue in our workforce.”