||There exists initial evidence for beneficial daylight effects in hospital bedrooms. However, study results with automatically controlled dynamic bedroom lights were so far inconclusive. It can be hypothesized that inclusion of critically ill patients and unpleasant fixed bright light stimuli so far could have masked non-visual light effects on patient's sleep, mood and circadian physiology.
Therefore, a temporarily adjustable dynamic light was installed in double bedrooms in a maternity clinic. Although mothers were exposed to fixed morning bright light under dynamic light they were allowed to adjust light intensities the rest of the day. In contrast, light colours were automatically changed over 24 h and could not be altered. Double bedrooms with standard switchable light were utilized as active control condition.
A sample of 72 women, giving birth to healthy term babies, were randomly assigned to bedrooms with dynamic or standard light. Light conditions adjusted by mothers, sleep quality, mood and diurnal melatonin level, as well as physical activity levels of mothers and neonates, were recorded.
Mothers exposed themselves and their babies to higher daytime and lower evening light levels under dynamic light compared to standard light after the period of fixed morning bright light exposure had ended. Although no overall effects on maternal parameters could be observed under dynamic light, we could reveal an earlier daily onset of neonatal physical activity levels in these bedrooms.
To conclude, this study indicates that an adjustable dynamic light may substantially affect indoor light exposure in a maternity ward. Further studies are necessary to explore light effects on mothers and substantiate study results on neonates.