Dreams tweak the reality that, we humans, accept on a day-to-day basis. The process of dreaming does not necessarily alter the reality with which we are presented; rather, dreams provide a different lens of perception. The most basic forms of reality that we accept are the concepts of ground, horizon, and the sky. The ground is the space that we occupy under the forces of gravity. The horizon serves as the link between the ground and the sky. As we chase the horizon, it appears to be running away at the same rate: leaving us isolated to the ground. However, the horizon represents the curiosity in the world. We are enticed by the horizon. We are enticed by the possibility of experiencing the sky while still being grounded. The sensation of looking beyond the horizon and gazing into the wonders of the universe is spikes our curiosity. The sky represents the divinity. By faith’s standards, it is understood that the heavens reside within the sky. The heavens are the home to the souls of the deceased. Another key point of reality regards the color composition of the ground, the horizon, and the sky. The ground is generally perceived to be green with grass, the horizon is perceived as a mixture of green and blue, while the sky is perceived as blue. The sensation of color is completely dependent upon the light. Through tweaking the hues of everyday accepted reality, the sensation of being in a dream can be achieved. A new set of hues and saturation within the space can begin to yield a new alternative reality that lives within the generally accepted reality of day-to-day life. A reality that provides an escape from the world’s standards.
Full Research Study Below
Tyler Luke for Northeastern University 
6 December, 2019
With the age of technological advancement arises unforeseen effects of different lighting exposures on the human circadian rhythms. In a world of screens and projections constantly surrounding and enveloping the daily lives of various individuals, unhealthy and irregular sleeping habits have been developed. Of course, the negative effects cannot be solely blamed on the technological consumption of modern times, but also, it can be attributed to poorly designed architectural dwellings that do not take into account proper lighting design and spatial organization that can use light to benefit the human internal clock. With careful design in regards to solar orientation and calculated lighting temperatures, architects and designers can begin to positively contribute to the sleeping crisis of the digital era in a progressive manner. 
Design aspects as simple as coordinating window openings in living units with the site-specific path of the sun can begin to give the occupants a sense of time, day and weather conditions of the external world. In the age of the skyscraper and vertical forms dominating the urban landscape, orientation is completely dependent upon the designated plot of land and air right constraints. With these constraints dictating the formulation of the design realization, modern architecture is plagued by a myriad of compromises that are almost never at the benefit of universal human well-being, but rather, with the intention of maximizing financial gain (Koolhaas, 2004). Poor design coupled with the endless technological consumption of modern times breeds a whole new level of circadian disruption for the common individual. Spaces detached from the ground and oriented away from the sun will place the urban dwellers into a state of isolated unknown from the outside world and, in turn, experience instances of sleep disruption. As a result, proper lighting design and orientation is seldom taken into account with modern advancements. Only individuals of high income status can reserve the right to proper spaces that will enhance and delight their overall day to day lives through the incorporation of miniscule, yet vital, architectural details of calculated lighting design and proper solar orientation. However, a standardization of mass produced sleeping spaces can serve as an affordable and accessible retreat for the common individual to maximize their interaction between lighting and healthy sleep habits. 
As stated above, solar orientation is a key aspect of calibrating human circadian rhythms because it provides a concrete sense of time and place. The challenge with solar orientation arises in the design process of every structural element. Not only is solar orientation vital, but also, the amount of UV exposure and solar heat gain from solar radiation must be balanced in order to devise a concise system that maximizes light exposure with controlling heat gain to craft a low-energy system that uses the sun to its benefit. Meticulously calculated solar orientation can minimize energy use for artificial lighting fixtures and heating appliances, respectively. The first step of effective solar design is to understand the altitude (the height of the sun in the sky) and azimuth (the direction of the sun path) of the region. Considering the fact that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, when designing a space that is about understanding the time of day without the use of a clock, it is best to orient the window openings to face the eastern and western directions. However, the intensity of the low altitude morning and evening light will create a greenhouse effect within the space that will heat up the interior beyond the point of comfort and will, in turn, result in higher mechanical energy consumption in order to create a balanced ambient temperature that is suitable for comfortable living. In the case of circadian lighting, it is best to slightly angle the windows away from the eastern and western directions with the intention of still allowing external views while refracting the solar heat gains. This game of balancing the proper angle of refraction with solar exposure is a challenge that has plagued designers throughout the history of architectural design (Lechner, 2015). 
Window glazing is the barrier between the individual and the outside world. Windows can be tinted to change the ambient color temperature of the interior while filtering out the undesirable solar rays that will influence the individual’s wakefulness. In addition, glass windows can be double paned with an air space between the two panes of glass which will act as an insulator to seal the internal environment from the influence of the outside elements. A marriage between proper glazing tint and pane depth will maximize UV exposure and minimize heat gain or loss and, as a result, aid in reducing energy usage while still maintaining the individual’s sense of the outdoor environment (Lechner, 2015). 
In terms of desirable light wavelengths to promote wakefulness has been studied in various experiments by a myriad of vision scientists. The vision scientist, David C. Holzman, ran a study on how blue light affects the human circadian rhythm through exposing one group of individuals to monochromatic light at 460 nm while exposing the other group of individuals to monochromatic light at 555 nm for 6.5 hours prior to when they’re attempting to fall asleep. Holzman claims that the circadian rhythm of human individuals will go awry (exceeding the 24 hour daily cycle) with the absence of external solar cues. In his essay, “What’s in a Color? The Unique Human Health Effects of Blue Light,” he was attempting to answer the question as to what the peak sensitivity of the human visual system is in regards to lighting exposure and how that can help calibrate or reset the human biological clock. Holzman began to dissect the purpose of the melanopsin retinal ganglion cells. He cited the 1998 discovery by vision scientist, Russell Foster, that these specific cells provided direct signals to the region in the brain, known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is commonly known as the brain’s master clock. Holzman reference’s George C. Brainard’s 1995-2001 study that involves taking 72 healthy men and women and testing them against various blue light wavelengths to discover the optimal wavelength that targets the melanopsin retinal ganglion cells in the eye. According to the study, the 460 nm wavelength targeted the peak sensitivity of melatonin receptors in the human visual system (which spans from 459-485) while the 555 nm wavelength targets the peak sensitivity of the human visual system. The study by Brainard proved that the effects of blue light at 460 nm will promote wakefulness in the individuals as a result of the suppression of melatonin release. In a complementary experiment by Dieter Kunz, he found that exposing the subjects to 30 minutes of 500 lux polychromatic blue light a mere hour before they attempted to fall asleep suppressed their ability to fall into REM sleep by 30 minutes. As a result, 500 lux polychromatic light and 460 nm blue light is an effective buffer against melatonin excretion in human individuals (Holzman, 2010). Tying back to the modern state of technology consumption that contains an array of light wavelength emitted proves that there is a higher risk of individuals developing sleep related issues - especially with unnecessary exposure prior to falling asleep. In fact, reports from the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, 50-70 million male and female individuals in the United States alone have reported that they are plagued with sleep-related issues (Holzman, 2010).  
The effects of light on human circadian rhythms is not limited to blue light exposure, but rather, the whole visual spectrum. The essay, “What’s in a Color? The Unique Human Health Effects of Blue Light” by Janet Raloff, illustrates an overall view of the biological and psychological impact of different light waves and how they individually can negatively and positively impact sleep habits. Raloff’s essay complements the studies presented in Holzman’s essay through detailing the effect of light on the melanopsin retinal ganglion cells. She claims that exposing the subjects to low-intensity 7.5 lux blue light reduced their melatonin levels by 30%. Additionally, a high-intensity white light lowered the subject’s melatonin levels by 50%. Inversely, exposure to a spectral yellow light can cancel out the effects of blue light and help to realign the individual's biological clock. As a reaction to these results, Raloff proposes the treatment of individuals with sleeping disorders to wear yellow-tinted glasses at nighttime to help combat the effects of blue light prior to falling asleep (Raloff, 2006). 
In essence, the exposure to blue light has both positive and negative effects on human circadian rhythms. On one hand, blue light exposure can promote wakefulness during desirable times (mostly day time but could be night time in individuals that primarily work during the night) while on the other hand, blue light exposure can delay drowsiness. A simple tinting of east facing window panes to maximize 460 nm blue light intake can promote wakefulness and alertness in the morning while tinting of west facing windows against the intake of polychromatic blue light during the evening can maximize melatonin release and promote healthy sleep habits during the night. In individuals that have inverted schedules as a result of night-shift work schedules, the tinting of the windows could be reversed in order to align with their own ideal rhythms. 
In the absence of proper solar orientation because of site constraints the effects of day lighting can be simulated with various artificial lighting design strategies. The essay, “A proposed lighting-design space: circadian effect versus visual illuminance” by Qi Dai et al., details various ways that simple light-emitting diode (LED) lighting can be tuned to target specific regions of the human visual system in the absence of proper daylighting strategies. In the study by Qi Dai et al. they set out to precisely test different color mixing strategies and brightness values to effectively target the melanopsin retinal ganglion cells in human individuals. The research was mostly based around balancing proper illuminance for the lighting design to aid in melatonin suppression versus secretion. Qi Dai et al. broke down the illuminance values of the LED lighting fixtures to be 30 lux (dim), 100 lux (moderately dim), 300 lux (bright), and 1000 lux (distinctively bright) in order to fit different spatial needs. In the case of bedrooms during the nighttime, a 30 - 100 lux range is ideal because the light will hardly interact with the melanopsin retinal ganglion cells of the visual system. In contrast, in workspace environments, a range of 300-1000 lux would be ideal to suppress melatonin secretion and, in turn, promote wakefulness. Furthermore, the modern day LED RGBW fixtures can be tuned to emit any light wavelength. For example, blue can be tuned to 434 nm, green can be tuned to 497 nm, red can be tuned to 632 nm, and yellowish-white can be tuned to simulate the spectral qualities of white sunlight. In essence, the usage of properly tuned LED RGBW lighting can simulate the circadian effects of daylighting, although not exactly, in regions or orientations where daylighting is not sufficient enough to stimulate circadian effects (Dai et al., 2017). 
Although properly executed artificial lighting in terms of hue and luminance is not the one to one equivalent of daylighting, it is still proven to be effective in promoting healthy circadian rhythms. However, the artificial lighting strategies must be properly implemented in order to receive the desired effect and limit undesirable health effects. A failure to accurately tune the effects of lighting, even slightly, can still be detrimental to the individual’s sleep patterns. In the report, “Electric light, particularly at night, disrupts human circadian rhythmicity: is that a problem” by Richard G. Stevens and Yong Zhu, claims that there is a link with night time exposure to electric lighting can be linked to the onset or progression of obesity, diabetes, and depression. Stevens and Zhu recall the study by Acherman et al. which examined 12 young males over a 48 hour period of time. The individuals were exposed to a series of different lighting exposures during the period of time they were being tested upon. In nights 1 and 2, the individuals were exposed to 8 hours of total darkness which resulted in a healthy night's sleep. In contrast, during night 3, the subjects were exposed to a continuous exposure of 5 lux white light during the night which resulted in them having trouble falling asleep. The results showed that, even though the 5 lux light was too dim to prohibit the melatonin secretion in individuals, there still were sleep deprivation results as a result of the presence of electrical lighting cues (Stevens & Zhu, 2015). 
Awareness of how inappropriately implemented lighting can impact sleep habits is the first step in making a change. As technology was abruptly thrown into the mix of modern society, not enough questions have been raised about the presence of device light emittance can be correlated with issues sleeping. Only within the past 3 years have a handful of devices implemented a scheduled “night mode” that filters out the blue light emittance of screens prior to falling asleep. A self-conducted general survey of 20 healthy male and female individuals ranging from the age of 18 to 26 indicated that there is a general unknown as to how light impacts sleep habits. Through asking a survey style series of questions, the results were generally mixed across the board as to what how the color hue of lighting can impact the sleep patterns of individuals. 
In both figure 1 and 2, the results were generally inconsistent with the scientific research that has been conducted regarding the ideal color wavelength to facilitate sleep and wakefulness. In figure 1, the individuals were mostly split between red and blue during the nighttime and in figure 2, the individuals mostly stated yellow as being the ideal color to wake up to. The results can mostly be attributed to the preconceived associations between yellow with the sun rising and blue with the twilight sky. However, these associations are actually inversely proportional with the impact of blue light on the human visual system. The creation of spaces that will, not only facilitate healthy sleep habits; but also, inform individuals about the reality of light’s influence on circadian rhythms, will be among the first steps in aiding in the treatment of modernly developed sleep disorders. 
Through careful coordination between natural and artificial lighting strategies with detailed architectural intervention: an ideal space for sleeping can be born. The “DREAMSPACE” is set to be both a physiological and mental remedy for promoting healthy circadian rhythms in seeking individuals. 
“DREAMSPACE” marries the research regarding light wavelengths and brightness with an architectural intervention. The space is an 8’ x 8’ x 8’ cube that is suspended above the ground plane with windows on the east and southern directions with a 30 degree tilt in the northern direction to refract direct solar gain. The sleeping surface is a queen sized mattress that is placed directly in the center of the space with white sheets. The eastern window is tinted blue to maximize 460 nm blue light in order to promote wakefulness and melatonin suppression during the morning. In contrast, the western windows are tinted yellow to combat the entry of 460 nm blue light during the evening. In the event of individuals that work night shifts, the windows are modular and easily switched to have inverse effects. The sleeping surface is suspended in the middle of the room with a steel cable pulley system that will mechanically lower the bed with vinyl shades that will further limit the illuminance of the light intake within the space when the individual is attempting to sleep. Likewise, the pulley system works in both directions, so as the individual awakes, the bed will raise with the vinyl shades in order to ease the individual into the daylight. In the event of prolonged darkness (high or low altitude regions) or prolonged cloudy skies, the window fixtures are lined with tuned LED RGBW lighting that is synced with the inhabitant’s desired sleep schedule. In essence, “DREAMSPACE” can be implemented into both new constructions and existing structures alike because of its low cost of maintenance and modular construction. 
The intentions of “DREAMSPACE” are not limited to providing a suitable sleeping space for individuals in need, but also, to raise awareness to the general public about how something as minute as ambient lighting can have both positive and negative effects on their daily lives. As previously stated, modern architecture has mostly revolved around financial optimization despite the inhabitants well-being. The “DREAMSPACE” can, ultimately, serve as a reminder that carefully designed architecture should be coupled with careful scientific research and analysis in order to create spaces that are both financially equitable and help enhance the lives of the individuals that inhabit the final constructions. In the end, a unity of visual scientific research, building system utilization, and pleasurable architectural design can begin to organize populations, promote healthy well-being, and overall delight the lives of the general public.  ​​​​​​​

Dai, Q., Cai, W., Shi, W., Hao, L., & Wei, M. (2017). A proposed lighting-design space: 
circadian effect versus visual illuminance. Building and Environment, 122, 287–293. doi: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2017.06.025

Holzman, D. C. (2010). What’s in a Color? The Unique Human Health Effects of Blue 
Light. Environmental Health Perspectives, 118(1). doi: 10.1289/ehp.118-a22

Koolhaas, R. (2004). Koolhaas, content. Place of publication not identified: Taschen.

Lechner, N. (2015). Heating, cooling, lighting: sustainable design methods for architects. 
Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Raloff, J. (2006). Light Impacts. Science News, 169(21), 330-332. Retrieved from 

Stevens, R., & Zhu, Y. (2015). Electric light, particularly at night, disrupts human circadian 
rhythmicity: Is that a problem? Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, 
Back to Top