Researcher to Study Sunlight-Mimicking LED Lighting’s Influence on Mental Health

Dr. Myriam Juda intends to answer the question of whether or not natural sunlight mimicking LED lighting can affect the body’s natural circadian rhythms and improve mental health and recovery.  Dr. Juda is a postdoctoral fellow at Simon Fraser University, Canada in the Department of Psychology.

Post Doctoral Fellow, Dr. Myriam Juda plans to research sunlight mimicking LED lighting's influence on mental health.

Post Doctoral Fellow, Dr. Myriam Juda plans to research sunlight mimicking LED lighting’s influence on mental health.

Her research into human circadian rhythms has earned her a Mitacs Accelerate internship with BC Hydro and the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction (BCMHA). The program and other internships are funded through the British Columbia government’s $10 million investment through Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization that connects emerging researchers with industry partners to research solutions for real-world issues.

Juda’s research will examine the effects of new LED lighting technology that is adjustable and programmable in color temperature and intensity. This technology is more closely able to simulate natural, outdoor lighting patterns. She predicts that getting good sleep and having stable circadian rhythms will improve patient recovery.

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Studies of Lighting and Mental Health Mostly in Academia and Not Industry, according to Juda

“This study is among the first of its kind,” Juda said “Our partnership with Mitacs, BC Hydro, and the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction will allow us to collect detailed data on how tunable LED lighting affects the rest-activity cycle, sleep and psychological well-being of patients with concurrent disorder (co-occurring substance abuse disorder and mental health disorder).”

Juda also founded her own company, Circadian Light Therapy, a sleep and light therapy consulting firm that she created to get the reward of seeing how her work could have a real impact on people’s lives. “Chronobiology and circadian rhythms has been an area where the research largely remains within academia and while this is changing, we still have a long way to go.”

While Juda awaits data from the project to come in around September 2018, she has also secured a grant through AGE-WELL, Canada’s technology and aging network and will be commencing a lighting intervention study in partnership with the Nikkei Seniors Health Care and Housing Society, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to providing supportive housing for Japanese seniors.