The effect of light on people and animals is well known. It regulates our body clock, is necessary to trigger some chemical reactions such as the production of vitamin D, and affects our mood, so much so that SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a recognised medical condition and is treated by exposure to artificial light mimicking natural light. And yes, you’ve guessed it, they use LEDs!

But here are a few other effects that LED light has been shown to have.


LED lighting increases concentration

Between November 2011 and February 2012, the Transfer Centre for Neuroscience and Learning in Germany investigated the effect of lighting on students from two schools, installing LED lights which would replicate outdoor natural light throughout the buildings. The results were surprising as they showed levels of concentration and cognitive performance to increase, better behaviour and significantly improved test scores.

Another recent study in schools took place in Las Vegas, USA, and showed similarly positive effects of LED lights. Again, performance levels benefited from LED lighting, with individual vocabulary increasing by 40.9% and individual reading skills by 27.3%. In addition, the number of students with academic test scores “well above the average” was higher – and all of this with a 23% reduction in energy consumption.

But that is not all. As mentioned before, light has an effect on our health, and the results of this study also suggested that production of vitamin D had been stimulated and the overall immunity of students had improved – bad news for the pupils who were hoping to get a cold on the day of that very important exam!


LED lighting helps people with autism

People with autism are over-sensitive to external stimuli and can be distraught by loud noises, strong shadows and generally things they don’t expect or are different from what they usually are.

Research has shown that light can play a role in how well an autistic person can cope with his or her environment and many health professionals will advise against direct fluorescent lighting. The sub-flicker that is not noticeable to most people is registered by people with autism and can interfere with auditory and visual processing, causing repetitive behaviour, eye strain and headaches. LED lighting will reduce the occurrence of such issues.


LED lights extend the shelf life of beef

The retail industry will spare no expense to find ways to influence us and separate us from our hard-earned cash: diffusing smells of freshly baked items to make us feel hungry, coloured lights to make fruit and vegetable more tempting, colorants to make meat a colour acceptable to people.

But behind those benign subliminal mind games, there is a very interesting fact: LED lights in refrigeration units slow down the discolouration process in beef products. This is certainly great news for the food industry as consumers will avoid buying beef that is anything but bright red, forcing supermarkets to discount meat that is still fresh. Using LEDs could therefore save them, and meat producers, a fortune.