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Putting the Spotlight on Orange Spectrum: Can Lighting Heighten Cognitive Function and Alertness?

The varied color spectrum created by lighting fixtures can have a variety of effects on one’s cognitive function, some of these effects may be beneficial while others can be detrimental. The longer wavelengths found in orange lighting can increase your brain activity and alertness while blue and UV wavelengths can cause skin or eye damage, or have even more serious effects.

In a study conducted by Gilles Vandewalle and his team at the University of Liege in Belgium, it was revealed that even a little exposure to orange light can increase one’s brain activity and boost alertness. The findings from this study support the idea that integration of exposure to orange spectrum lighting in addition to your standard lighting can help optimize cognitive function over long periods of time.

Huffington Post recently published an article that referenced this study, stating that, “Researchers found that test subjects exposed to orange light had greater brain activity demonstrating cognitive alertness compared to those exposed to blue light.” This article also stated that exposure to orange light can make it easier for people to wake up and stay alert.

This increased brain activity was a result of exposure to the longer wavelengths found in orange light, which causes melanopsin (a type of photopigment that belongs to a larger family of light-sensitive retinal proteins) to send a different signal to the brain compared to when you are exposed to blue or green light. A study was done on the photic memory for executive brain responses, in which subjects were reported to have increased brain activity when exposed to light with longer wavelengths. The study states, “Our results emphasize the critical role of light for cognitive brain responses and are, to date, the strongest evidence in favor of a cognitive role for melanopsin.

Gilles Vandewalle’s study was also referenced in an article published by New Scientist, claiming that the results confirm that a burst of orange light can stimulate the light-sensing pigment melanopsin, waking up your ‘circadian eye’ and resetting our body’s internal clock. According to New Scientist, Vandewalle believes that more thought should be given to the impact of different colors of light in environments such as schools due to the effects that it can have on cognitive function.

The Crystallin® Orange Study Light uses an innovative liquid crystal-based film developed by Light Polymers, making it the superior choice in desktop lighting for long hours of study. The unique orange spectrum is designed to reduce eye fatigue as well. All Crystallin study and task lights are IEC-62471 certified, meaning they are LED products that emit gentle, eye-safe light without flicker or harmful blue and UV light leakage.