Colored Light Effects: How They Impact Your Body and Mood

White or off-yellow indoor lighting is an everyday indoor phenomenon, so it can be exciting to walk into a room flush with atypical red, blue, or green lighting. That excitement can also come from the presence of color itself – one color can affect your body and mood way differently than another! Below, we’ll discuss how colors influence your mood, which colors may have the strongest effects, and how you can experience these colored lighting effects every day.

How color impacts mood

Some of the many potential colored light effects on mood are:

  • Natural light can make you more productive (1) Additionally, consistent natural light exposure is correlated with better sleep and more exercise, as reported in a 2014 study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (2).
  • Other studies, such as one reported in 2013 in the British Journal of Psychology (3), found that vitamin D production may be inversely correlated with depression. Natural light exposure is a key stimulant of the body’s natural vitamin D production mechanisms and may thus also be inversely correlated with depression.
  • Blue light and mellower colored lighting can help calm autistic and neurodivergent children (4). Similarly, a 2017 PLOS ONE (5) study found that blue light may have calming effects on neurotypical people of all ages.

Which colors impact mood?

Among the light colors for which scientific evidence exists regarding mood effects are:

1. Red

Red light may impart a calming effect, though research into the effect of red colors on the mind remains ongoing. That said, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (6) has acknowledged a possible relationship between red light’s shorter wavelength and the body’s relative insensitivity to this light color. According to this theory, since the human eye is less sensitive to higher-wavelength light (7) than, say, blue wavelengths (which are shorter than red wavelengths), the body lacks stimulation in red lighting, and your mind is thus calmer.

Our BlissBulbs gently sweep your room in red stars that softly glimmer along your walls and ceiling. Place these bulbs in your usual light fixtures, then turn your fixtures on, and voila – full red immersion and, possibly, a calmer mood.

2. Yellow

A 2017 study in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science (8) found that yellow light exposure can make people more inclined to partake in vigorous activity than blue or red light. Additionally, in his oft-cited book Color Psychology and Color Therapy (9), author and psychologist Faber Birren argues that yellow is among the most stimulating light colors. These conclusions may make more sense when you consider that yellow lighting is not only similar in hue to natural lighting but a dominant indoor lighting color in homes, stores, offices, and myriad other spaces.

3. White

The same 2017 Journal of Physical Therapy Science study that correlated yellow light exposure with inclinations toward activity came to the same conclusion regarding white light exposure. Additionally, a 2020 Current Biology (10) study suggested that white light is disruptive enough to the physiology of birds’ brains – which a 2013 study (11) found are similar to humans’ brains – to result in sleep disruption if exposure occurs at night. 

4. Blue

According to the aforementioned 2017 PLOS ONE study, exposure to blue light upon stress level spikes leads to relaxation three times more quickly than exposure to white light. 

Blue light exposure can also be great for getting work done. A 2016 study in the scientific journal Sleep (12) showed that blue may exposure may help you perform cognitive tasks better, just as a 2018 study in the World Journal of Biological Psychiatry (13) found that blue light may increase alertness. Whether you’re going for this focused mood or a more relaxed aura, our Sky Lite Laser Galaxy Projector brings all the blue to you – submerging your room in blue nebulas and bliss has never been easier or more entrancing than with our laser projections!

5. Green

According to a 2009 Canadian Medical Association Journal (14) survey of green light’s use in hospitals, green light may have soothing qualities. The healthcare experts and hospital architects surveyed in the CMAJ report all noted that green helped to calm tense hospital patients. Similarly, a 1994 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology (15) found a correlation between green light exposure and pleasant emotions.

You can harness the serenity of green lighting for yourself with a BlissLights Ark Ambient Aurora Light. The green aurora that this laser projector slowly moves throughout your room isn’t just fascinating enough to put you into a mild daze – it’s colored just the right hue to make all those pleasant emotions bubble to the surface!

Five easy ways to add more color to your everyday life

No matter the colored light effects you seek, adding more color to your everyday life can be super easy. Some ideas include:

1. Light therapy

Light therapy is often used to help people with seasonal affective disorder (16) feel less depressed. The most common light therapy colors are white or occasionally blue lighting (17), but a 2015 report in the Journal of Affective Disorders (18) found little scientific merit for using white light this way. Given the results of other scientific studies, novel home color light options including, as discussed above, red, green, and blue may have more positive mood effects – and the lighting options below may better suit these colors.

2. Color-changing bulbs

Color-changing bulbs screw into your standard light fixtures. They’re usually LED lights capable of displaying virtually any color on the rainbow, but you don’t have to look solely to LEDs for your colored room lighting. Our BlissBulbs use lasers to bring the mood-changing effects of red, blue, and green colors to your indoor space, and since lasers are brighter and more focused than LEDs, you might feel your desired mood shift more strongly.

3. Portable lights

If you’ve ever wanted to rush home so that you can finally relax after a busy day, then you might appreciate portable lights. You can use these lights to enjoy the effects of colored light on the body and mind no matter where you go – on your next vacation far away, just stow your portable light in your carry-on and break it out whenever you want. Our StarPort Laser USB is built with this instant enjoyment in mind – it plugs into laptops, mobile chargers, and other things you can easily take with you not just in your bag, but from room to room.

4. Aurora lights

As we mentioned earlier, aurora lights give your room the illusion of seeing the northern lights in person under gorgeous night skies. With these lights, instead of traveling to the world’s extremes, you can relax at home and easily enjoy your own personal nighttime light show – and the mood shifts that come with it. Our Ark Ambient Aurora Light is the leader in this lighting field and a convenient, exciting way to give yourself just the hues (and moods) you need.

5. Star lights

With star lights, you can recreate that comforting, inspiring planetarium feel without heading to your nearest museum. Lean back in your recliner, lie flat on your couch, or sit up in your reading chair and let the stars dotting your room ground you. This mood-shifting lighting trick works wonders for the holidays too – our Laser Christmas Tree Topper in green or red sets the perfect mood for your winter wonderland, not to mention all occasions.

Get the colored light effects you want with BlissLights

With the BlissLights indoor laser lighting collection, you can take your home’s everyday lighting – and your mood – up a notch. Whether you favor portable lights for on-the-go color, laser projectors for stunning sky and galaxy patterns, or laser bulbs for simple color lighting, you’ll find that our indoor lights give you just the mood lighting you need. Browse our shop to find laser lights that match plenty of your desired moods!


Citations

  1. North Carolina State University. “Shining Light on What Natural Light Does For Your Body.” sustainability.ncsu.edu/; accessed November 2020
  2. Boubekri, Mohamed et. al. “Impact of windows and daylight exposure on overall health and sleep quality of office workers: a case-control pilot study.” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine; 2014.
  3. Anglin, Rebecca et. al. “Vitamin D deficiency and depression in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis.” British Journal of Psychiatry; 2013.
  4. Konica Minolta. “How Light Can Help Autistic Children.” sensing.konicaminolta.us; accessed November 2020
  5. Minguillon, J et. al. “Blue lighting accelerates post-stress relaxation: Results of a preliminary study.” PLoS ONE; 2017
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Interim NIOSH Training for Emergency Responders: Reducing Risks Associated with Long Work Hours.” cdc.gov; accessed December 2020
  7. The Energy Blueprint. “Is Red Light Therapy Good for Sleep?” theenergyblueprint.com; accessed December 2020
  8. Han, S and Lee, D. "The effects of treatment room lighting color on time perception and emotion." Journal of Physical Therapy Science; 2017.
  9. Birren, Faber. Color Psychology and Color Therapy: A Factual Study of the Influence of Color on Human Life. Martino Fine Books, 2013.
  10. Aulsebrook, Anne et. al. “White and Amber Light at Night Disrupt Sleep Physiology in Birds.” Current Biology; 2020.
  11. Imperial College London. “Birds and humans have similar brain wiring.” imperial.ac.uk; accessed November 2020.
  12. Alkozei, Anna et. al. “Exposure to Blue Light Increases Subsequent Functional Activation of the Prefrontal Cortex During Performance of a Working Memory Task.” Sleep; 2016.
  13. Bauer, M et. al. “The potential influence of LED lighting on mental illness.” World Journal of Biological Psychiatry; 2018.
  14. Pantalony, David. “The colour of medicine.” CMAJ; 2009.
  15. Valdez, P and Mehrabian, A. "Effects of color on emotions." Journal of Experimental Psychology; 1994.
  16. Mayo Clinic. "Light therapy." mayoclinic.org; accessed December 2020
  17. Sleep Passport. "Best Light Therapy for SAD: White, Blue, Green, or Red?" sleeppassport.com; accessed December 2020
  18. Mårtensson, B et. al. "Bright white light therapy in depression: A critical review of the evidence." Journal of Affective Disorders; 2015.


About BlissLights

BlissLights has been a leader in the laser lighting industry since the company was founded in 2006. Our team of experienced engineers and technicians helped create award-winning special effect lighting for major theme parks before minaturizing our patented technology for home use. BlissLights is dedicated to laser safety and education, and is registered with the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH).



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