What is Ambient Mode and How Does It Help You Sleep

What is Ambient Mode and How Does It Help You Sleep

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Ambient Mode is a new feature that is available on our latest generation of devices. This feature was thoughtfully designed to use in the morning and evening to replace standard room lighting with a soothing red glow. In this article, we cover the visual aspect of our relationship with light and how simple changes in color can impact our circadian response.

What is Joovv’s Ambient Mode?

Designed for room lighting, Ambient Mode is a setting on our latest generation of devices that emits red light at a lower intensity. This setting is great for use when high amounts of energy found in standard household lighting may be unwanted. Although this is not a treatment setting, Ambient Mode uses four low intensity red light levels to help transition to morning light or promote relaxation at the end of the day. While it seems like a simple switch, this change in light can have a significant impact on our health. 

Joovv Ambient Mode - Joovv Mobile App

 Our Sensitivity to Light

The human body is very sensitive to the light taken in by our eyes and can detect light ranging from approximately 380 to 700 nanometers (nm). [1] Starting with violet and ending with red, the colors in the visible light range are determined by the wavelength and will vary in energy. It’s important to note, light that contains high amounts of energy stimulates alertness, while lower energy light helps promote relaxation. When compared to red light, blue light contains a higher amount of energy.

The term ambient light refers to artificial light used to improve visual performance and visibility indoors and outdoors when natural light is unavailable.

With LED technology improving over time, blue LEDs have become very efficient, making them the leading choice for most ambient lighting applications. However, while blue light is highly efficient and ideal for many artificial lighting applications, there is a downside to using it continuously. 

Two Key Hormones to Understand Before We Go Deeper

Melatonin is a hormone that the brain produces in response to darkness. It helps with the timing of our circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock) and with sleep.

Cortisol, known as the “stress hormone”, helps promote alertness and wakefulness in our bodies.

Okay, here we go…

How Visible Light Stimulates the Body

Our eyes have photosensitive cells called retinal ganglion cells, which contain melanopsin, a photopigment used to transmit light directly to the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus in our brain.[2] The SCN acts as the master circadian clock that organizes the daily recurring physiological functions of our bodies, such as hormone secretion of melatonin and cortisol. The master circadian clock is synchronized by the light-dark transitions perceived by our eyes and can be highly disrupted by changes in the light-darkness patterns from artificial lighting environments. 

It is important to remember that blue light itself is not the bad guy, but when we are exposed to blue light at the wrong times of day, it can disturb our circadian rhythms. Studies have shown that blue light exposure in the evening (typically after sunset) has a negative impact on melatonin secretion, which again, is the critical hormone that helps our bodies sleep. However, we do need some blue light in our environment to keep our circadian rhythms balanced. Blue light's direct impact on melatonin also plays an important role in cortisol secretion. [3] 

Still with us? Let’s keep going.

The most common form of blue light comes in the form of white light. White light is commonly referred to as colorless daylight, described as either warm or cool on a scale of 1000-10000 kelvin (K). White light is also the most common source of artificial light used in our homes, offices, etc. Cool sources of white light are brighter and contain more energy than warmer sources. To put this into perspective, candlelight has a warm color temperature of around 1800K and emits about 10 lux in brightness, while daylight, or direct sunlight, has a cool color temperature of around 5500-6500K and emits 120,000 lux in brightness. [4] 

Best Times to Use Warm and Cool Light 

Following the natural cycle of light throughout the day is the best and most effective way to support our circadian rhythms. As we discussed with color temperatures above, warmer white light sources are ideal for use in early morning and evening, prior to sunrise and after sunset. Mid-range sources are ideal for mid morning and late afternoon use, with cooler sources being ideal for midday. 

In today’s world we often wake before the sun rises and stay awake well after it sets, all with the use of artificial light. Going straight from bright light to darkness can make it more difficult for your brain and body to fall asleep and stay asleep [5], which is what inspired the development of Joovv’s Ambient Mode. A setting that provides a soothing red glow, ideal for those early mornings before sunrise and evenings after sunset. Ambient Mode contains no blue light and is a lower intensity option that can have a positive effect on the body’s internal clock.

How and When To Use Ambient Mode

Low intensity red light is a great way to transition into your day, making it ideal for the early riser. When used at night, this setting can also help your body wind down and adjust to the natural darkness of the day/night cycle. 

Tip: We recommend facing the device towards a wall to reflect the light and create a diffused effect, as even the lowest level could still be considered bright for some people.

Ambient mode is available for the Joovv Go 2.0, Mini 3.0, Solo 3.0, and all Generation 3.0 kits. Accessible through the Joovv Mobile App only, this setting allows for up to 90 minutes of consecutive use and offers the choice of four different brightness levels. Ambient Mode can also be activated using our Alarm Clock feature. For more information, here is our Joovv Mobile App Quickstart Guide

Please note: Ambient Mode was designed as alternative lighting and is not intended to deliver any treatment dosages. 

Joovv Mobile App

Light is detected through our eyes and plays a major role in our natural circadian rhythms. Avoiding mistimed use of blue light is key, however in today's world that can be a real challenge. Ambient Mode is a non-treatment setting that emits lower intensity red light, making it ideal before sunrise and after sunset to help keep our circadian rhythms in tune to the natural cycle of the day.

You can check out Joovv’s light therapy products here. If you want to see which Joovv device is best for you and your health goals, take this short quiz


Sources and References:

[1] Science Mission Directorate. "Visible Light" NASA Science. 2010. National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Accessed on 30 July 2022. 

[2] Leena Tähkämö, Timo Partonen & Anu-Katriina Pesonen (2019) Systematic review of light exposure impact on human circadian rhythm, Chronobiology International, 36:2, 151-170,DOI: 10.1080/07420528.2018.1527773. Accessed on 30 July 2022.

[3] Leena Tähkämö, Timo Partonen & Anu-Katriina Pesonen (2019) Systematic review of light exposure impact on human circadian rhythm, Chronobiology International, 36:2, 151-170,DOI: 10.1080/07420528.2018.1527773. Accessed on 30 July 2022.

[4] Durmus D. Correlated color temperature: Use and limitations. Lighting Research & Technology. July 2021. doi:10.1177/1477153521103433. Accessed on 30 July 2022.

[5] Norihiro Nagai, Masahiko Ayaki, et al. Suppression of Blue Light at Night Ameliorates Metabolic Abnormalities by Controlling Circadian Rhythms. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2019 Sep3;60 (12): 3786-3793, DOI: 10.1167/iovs.19-27195


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