It is a well-known fact that health and happiness go hand in hand, and there are thousands of research studies indicating that they do indeed co-exist. Those of you that have been following my blogging journey from the beginning are well aware that health and fitness are a top priority in my life. I have continually talked about how daily commitments to a healthier lifestyle have helped me reach new levels of happiness.
I recently learned that diet and exercise are not the only two things improve our happiness and well-being. There is something you may have never considered before, but it is just as critical as healthy food and exercise. May I get a DRUMROLL PLEASE…… Lighting! (Yes! And not just exposure to natural light, but the lighting in our homes!) has a great impact on our overall physical, mental and emotional well-being.
I am also a firm believer that what’s meant to be will find a way- and when I connected with Jason, the founder of the Hansen Lighting Company, I instantly knew that his passion for helping others feel healthier through lighting was something I immediately wanted to explore more. It didn’t take me long to understand the concept- the lighting we use in our homes has an extremely strong impact on our health. Needless to say, as I came to understand the whole idea better, incorporating new “healthy lighting” into #thelaydenlegacy became a top priority.
I also became familiarized with a concept called Hygge (pronounced “h(y)oo-gah”) that I had only heard of once before in a song from the broadway rendition of Frozen. If I knew what it meant then, the song would have perhaps taken on a whole new meaning. Lol. But I suppose I’ll just have to “Let it go….” this time. Sorry…that was extremely corny, I know…I guess I am still suffering a Disney Hangover from our trip to Disney this summer.
So without any further ado– I couldn’t be more thrilled to announce my partnership with Hansen Lighting! My main goal: To turn our new home into a “hyggelit” atmosphere! Now, I’m sure you are wondering what hyggelit means– but you’ll just have to read on to find out.
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What is junk food lighting? and how does it impact your health?
When I was first introduced to the concept of “junk food lighting versus healthy lighting “, I could grasp the general concept, but I had many questions, as I’m sure you do as well. So here’s my Public Service Announcement: Not all LED lights are created equal. There have been some amazing advancements made with LED’s and like anything, there is a huge difference in LED lights (though the differences may not be noticeable to you immediately). In fact, different LED lights are not even close to being the same. Their quality is all over the place. Many LED lights may even be hazardous. Thus the term “junk food lighting” has been coined to refer to “regular” LED lights because of the harmful effects they can have on us (and our children’s) brains. I mean… come on…I made it 13 years without any of my kids ever eating morsel of junk food (that is totally a joke just in case you got worried..lol… maybe until my firstborn was 7 though- don’t hate!) only to find out my lighting is affecting their brains like a sugar overload, causing poor sleep, inability concentrate and even mood swings!
There are a couple factors that make lights fall into the category of “junk food lighting”: Too Much Blue Light, High Color Rendering Index (CRI), and something the industry refers to as “Beam Spread”. Blue light is a hot topic right now because our devices put out a fair amount of blue light and is creating some long-term health worries. But pretty much any LED light you would buy at your corner department store puts out a high amount of blue light. It’s not visible to the naked eye but really affects our body. (Please note: naked eye in this context should not be confused with Naked Eye Palettes which I talk about all the time…LOL). Anyway, back to the harmful effects of blue lighting (sorry– the thought of make-up has a tendency to sidetrack me). Believe it or not, light sends signals to our body through the photoreceptos in our eyes and signals our body to perform specific functions. For example, blue light tells our body that it’s time to wake up, but if we’re exposed to it at night it can keep us up all night. And over-exposure to blue light (found in many LED products, phones, tablets, screens) is proven to lead to headaches, difficulty sleeping, concentrating, etc. (I guess now I know what’s causing all of my problems…ha!) Sound familiar? Now you know why. The good news is that it is possible to buy LED lights with minimal blue light (called full spectrum light bulbs) and if you wanna go over the top, some even adjust the amount of blue light output, so we only get it in the morning (when our body really only needs blue light).
We all know light helps us to see and of course the opposite is also true. Bad lights or poor-quality lights dramatically reduce our ability to see colors indoors. The Color Rendering Index (CRI), is measure of how close a light source is to the sun, the sun being a perfect full spectrum light source. “Junk food lighting” only emits 80% CRI compared to 90-95% CRI rendered by quality LED lighting, which really alters the way colors and textures appear to us. Higher CRI lighting will result in a greater variety and a more accurate view of colors, shades and textures, helping you enjoy your living space to the fullest (and making sure your socks match…LOL).
Then there a the trick used by many “regular” LED manufactures and retailers with the lights “beam spread”, which simply refers to how wide the light spreads out. Some lights look good on the box with a high number of lumens (around 1100) but have a very narrow beam spread. It may appear to be quality but with beam spread, it creates a lot of unnecessary shadows and dark spots, and can even make a home feed kind of dreary. Narrow beam spread creates an environment that feels like you are constantly going from bright to dark to bright to dark, which can do a significant number on the eyes (and brain). People in the healthy lighting industry refer to this as “living in the fridge”. Up until now I thought “living in the fridge” only referred to my current status every night after 9 PM…LOL! To find healthy lighting and minimize dark pockets, but sure to look for lights with at least 120-degree beam spread.
What is Hygge? and why is it important?
In a nutshell- Hygge is a cozy-feeling room or living space that brings about a feeling of happiness, contentment and well-being. Some would think of a warm hug from Olaf! I instantly think of me meditating while cuddling under a barefoot dreams blanket, sipping on my favorite tea without interruption, while wearing my favorite Lululemon Align pants. Sounds pretty amazing, right? I think we’d all agree that a life with more hygge would be exactly that–AMAZING! Now imagine, if you could do things to create an environment where your mind was at a continuous state of peace. Believe it or not- it is something we can create within our living spaces (which means now I’m on a mission!).
The concept of hygge comes from Denmark which consistently dominates the World Happiness Report year after year. This a distinction that they have earned each of the last seven years! Currently, the United States ranks right around 18th in the report. It is very likely because we are short on hygge! While Hygge is achieved in various ways, the foundation of it all begins with lighting. Thankfully, Hansen Lighting has experts trained in Hygge and they aim to improve our overall happiness by the increasing the hygge in our lives by helping us better understand healthy lighting.For much more in-depth information on this topic please checkout Hansen Lighting’s Blog (https://blog.hansenlighting.com).
How does the lighting in your home promote a sense of Hygge?
A huge part of creating hygge in your home has to do with imitating the natural cycle of the Sun. It is the ultimate light. Natural sunlight follows a natural “curve” and changes throughout the day – from dawn until dusk. Basically, in the morning and evenings the sun is less intense compared to midday when it is burning high in the sky – and the color temperature changes from warm to bright back to warm. Believe it or not, our body reacts differently to the different color temperatures. The blue spectrum in the morning tells our body it’s time to rise and suppresses melatonin production while releasing cortisol (which stimulates us to wake up). And in the evening, the sun has less blue light which allows our body to release melatonin and feel drowsy. You can see how being exposed to the wrong light at the the wrong time could really throw us off. Optimally, the intensity and position of the artificial lighting in your home should flow in this same natural pattern. In the morning, the use of candles, lamps and dimmers on lower tables imitates the light provided by sun rise which helps the body peacefully awaken as the sun would. During the middle of the day, brighter overhead lighting helps you be productive and remain focused. As evening approaches, you can turn off the bright overhead lights and return to more lower lamps, candles and dimmers (with full spectrum bulbs) to better imitate the sun and signal to our body that it’s time for bed. (https://blog.hansenlighting.com/2019/05/7-tips-to-bring-hygge-into-your-home/). Now, I haven’t figured out yet, how hygge lighting can work with someone like me who stays up until 3 AM, but I’ll take things one step at a time…ha!
AND now for Scott’s favorite question: Is healthy lighting expensive?
I think when Scott heard the word “healthy” he immediately thought of the cost of organic food. He always seems to ask me the same two questions after grocery shopping: “Why does it cost so much to eat healthy?” followed by “Why do you care so much about eating healthy?”. He knows the answers even though secretly he’s hoping I’ll say I care more about saving money…hasn’t happened yet but he can keep trying! Ha! He didn’t say much but I could tell by the look on his face he internally freaked when he heard the term “healthy lighting”.
For the first time in the building process I was able to tell him I actually chose a product that is actually NOT more expensive than standard options. Now, granted I am collaborating with Hansen Lighting (which made Scott really happy), but regardless, healthy LED products are sold at a price on par or even cheaper than “junk food lighting” that can be purchased at any typical store that sells light bulbs.
Low quality LED look “good” for about two years but then start to fade. This is because LED stands for Light Emitting Diode. You can thank me later if you are ever on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” and the question “What Does LED stand for?” comes up…ha! Anyway, all diodes have a half-life which is why they fade over time. “Junk food” LED lights start out looking fine, but eventually become too dim. These cheaper lights range in life from 15,000 to 25,000 hours where healthy LED can last beyond 50,000 hours. Moreover, the best LED are rated at L70 indicating at the “end of it’s life” it is still at 70% of it’s original brightness. “Junk food” LED is rated as L50 or lower. Now that is enough about percentages– or I am going to have to bring Scott in for some math help?
And now for the final question: Where can healthy lighting be purchased?
Healthy options exist at quite a few places, but it will require you to know your stuff. I found it easiest (and with the best prices) at Hansen Lighting! Not only can you shop for any kind of lighting through Hansen – but you can also go to their blog (through the link I provided below) and learn more about hygge and healthy lighting! For over 60 years, the company and their team of lighting experts have been improving families health and wellness by better understanding healthy lighting options, without any increase in cost. In fact, I found their prices to be less than nearly every other option. And now for the BEST NEWS… Hansen Lighting has agreed to give all of my readers a 20 percent coupon code. Yep. That’s right- 20 PERCENT off any item! You can go over to www.HansenLighting.com, create an account and use the coupon code: GET20 for an instant 20% off any item when you checkout. If you need any help or guidance, please feel free to give them at call at their physical locations in Orem, Utah at (801) 225-4459 or Sandy, Utah at (801) 562-8530 and their lighting experts would be happy to help. You can also email any questions you may have directly to Brooke at email@example.com
I was so excited to tell you all about this partnership because I think we can all agree– that a step toward wellness is a step in the right direction! Feel free to reach out to me at anytime with any additional questions you may have! Thank you all so much for following our journey home! I really hope you will come back soon to see our exterior and interior lighting selections unfold!
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