Picture this: You’re sitting in a conference room, eyeing a gorgeous asiago cheese bagel. Your mouth starts to salivate. Your eyes begin to bulge. All you want – all you can think about – is that bagel.
When the meeting’s over, you immediately scoff it up and dart back to your office. You’re about to enjoy your bagel in peace when the phone rings. (Really? Now?) After several long minutes, it’s finally bagel time!
Then it happens. You notice the feelings you once had for said bagel have lost intensity. You no longer treat it like it’s your last meal ever. You start to question your sanity.
It’s okay, you’re not crazy. It actually all has to do with lighting. See, the conference room you were in just had new LEDs installed. That brightly-lit space enhanced your emotions and made that bagel so desirable. Once you spent some time in your dimmer office, your hunger subsided. Suddenly the bagel was average.
This emotional roller coaster you’re on is driven by two hormones: melatonin and serotonin. Basically, serotonin affects our mood, memory and appetite; melatonin impacts our body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Being in a darker room or environment can decrease the amount of serotonin while increasing melatonin. That extra melatonin can cause us to feel tired, disinterested, or even depressed. (This is why we want to cry when we leave our beds on gloomy days.)
In your case, the bright conference room spiked your “happy hormone” and turned that bagel into the greatest thing ever.
Of course, your company didn’t install this lighting to torture your appetite or test your sanity. LEDs can act as indoor sunlight, which can have numerous benefits aside from cheering us up. (Some LEDs mimic natural lighting just to fight seasonal blues.)
More businesses are relying on this technology to help improve worker concentration, increase productivity, and reduce stress. They recognize that when employees feel good, business can be better. Boom! Everyone wins.
Terry K. McGowan, Director of Engineering and Technology for the American Lighting Association, even took it a step farther. According to him, we should start treating LED lighting like a drug. It can increase our energy, motivate us, or even instigate a love-hate relationship with a bagel.
Speaking of which, you know what to do.