Looking through blue-coloured glass

Very few homes are advertised with the description, “Dank, dingy, and dark; you’ll be overwhelmed by the lack of light in this mausoleum-like hell-hole”. Most people want a home that is light and airy. We all know, even if intuitively, that light is a mood booster and that lack of light had negative effects on your mental state. Of course, the need has to be balanced against the need to keep out excessive heat and to protect yourself against ultraviolet radiation. So our windows have become adorned with glazing and sun-protection but this isn’t optimised to allow the light that is important for hormonal balance. Now a new type of glass has been developed to let through the important wavelengths of light to maintain your biorhythms.

The basis of this development is the fact that your biorhythms and hormonal cycles are not dictated by the wavelengths of light that lighten a room but by the blue wavelengths. The optic nerve connects your retina to the hypothalamus in your brain, which is the control centre for the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS governs unconscious processes like breathing, salivating, urinating, and sexual arousal. Receptors sit at the end of the nerve that are sensitive to blue light converting it into signals that regulate your biological clock.

For instance, these blue light signals regulate the secretion of the hormone melatonin. Lack of blue light leads to high melatonin levels which can result in problems sleeping or concentrating and may lead to depression or psychological imbalance. “Seasonal Affective Disorder” is just one result of a high melatonin levels.

The new glass is specially designed to allow the maximum amount of wavelengths 450-500 nanometres (blue light) to pass through. The design secret is an inorganic coating that is around 0.1 micrometres thick and virtually undetectable to the human eye. The developers say that the effect is to make you feel as though the window is permanently open and the result is that people who spend a lot of time indoors will feel better, perform better, and are less likely to become ill.

All in all it seems like what we might have is pane-less windows.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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